Friday, April 29, 2011

Writing Tips

A friend of mine asked me for some tips about writing; specifically, about what works for me. Here are some of the tricks I use to try and keep myself on track.

Eliminate distractions. Send the kids to a friend's, take the phone off the hook, do not check your email. 

Try to work in a quiet room with minimal optical distractions (the room should be uncluttered, clean, the walls preferably a cool colour).

Music on low is allowed. Especially good are Solitudes, classical and soundtracks. Music without words is best, so the lyrics don't distract you. You may find that certain scores inspire your pen. For my wife, it is the soundtrack for the movie 'Gattica'.

You can use scented candles, incense or oils to create a calming atmosphere when you write.

I tend to organize what I'm writing before I start. I come up with ideas or headings, then group them and place them in order. This helps me keep in mind what areas I need to focus on.

Do not worry about what order you write in. You can work on the middle of your writing first, then the beginning, then the end. Write organically.

Do not edit while you are writing. A lot of people will edit what they've written so far over and over, rather than work on anything new. Save the editing for the end.

I tend to prefer to do my rough draft on paper. I find it more organic and the ideas spill out of my pen. Working directly on the computer can be intimidating (that big blank white screen) and make you want to edit rather than write. Working on paper also removes you from email, the internet and solitaire.

When you are writing, just write. Don't worry about flow, grammar or sentence structure. You can fix that later while editing.

Try to always carry a notebook with you to jot down ideas. You never know when inspiration will strike (for me, it used to always hit while I was on the bus going to school).

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