HOW TO…keep calm & keep writing!

HOW TO…keep calm & keep writing!

Staring at the faded letters on the keyboard, all coherent thoughts have drifted from your mind like the whispy strands of a strange pink candy floss. Your attention wanders, and you start imagining that those fluffy clouds in the sky are actually shaped like a dinosaur, or an ice cream, or even… 

Maybe it’s time to make a cup of tea? It’s been half an hour, right? Procrastination. It’s any writer’s biggest enemy! There are times in every author’s life when just getting three consecutive words on the page seems like an unconquerable task – so we’re here with our top ten tips for staying focused!

1)      The Social Media detox!

It’s just like resisting that extra slice of cake…equally tempting and equally detrimental! Don’t you think those 140 characters would be more useful in your story?

2)     Keep a notebook handy…

Make sure that you’re ready to jot down those brilliant ideas when inspiration strikes – it’s always when you least expect it!

3)     Word count wishes

Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Set yourself word counts that you have to meet each day, whether it’s 500 or 5,000 words…it doesn’t matter. And write every single day!

4)     Time for a cuppa?

Ever thought of moving the kettle to your desk? That way you can’t be distracted by everything you pass on the way to making a cup of tea – like the fridge!

5)     Pen pals…

Join a writers’ group! There’s nothing like the support of other writers to keep you going…they know exactly how you’re feeling, you’re in it together! 

6)     Let it go!

Let go of your inner editor, she’s just slowing you down! Allow yourself a few sentences that don’t quite work…the second time round they might just click! 

7)     The truth hurts…

Write about what you know – the experiences you’ve had, the emotions you’ve felt. It’s the truth that has the most power on the page when it comes to captivating your reader.

8)     Tick-Tock

Work out your writing clock! Do you write best in the morning or evening, midday or midnight? Create a routine and stick to it!

9)     It’s OK to change your mind…

If a chapter isn’t working, don’t struggle on and force it to! Turn back a few pages and start afresh – don’t waste your time on the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘maybe’s’… 

10)  Stop!

Know when it’s time to stop typing, to put the lid back on the mind’s pen before it starts making meaningless scribbles. Take a walk, take a breather – the story will still be there when you get back. And it if you’ve reached The End, over-editing is just as harmful as over-thinking!

And remember…anything is possible when you put your mind to it!

Happy writing!

Follow editor Charlotte Mursell on Twitter @charloMurs and join our Author Lab writing community on Facebook or Twitter!