This month, I’ve set an audacious goal for myself: to write more than I ever have before. It will be tricky, because I already write quite often.
My plan is to pursue all of the writing projects that I’ve thought about doing but never gotten around to. These are the things that I’ve put off because they seemed too difficult, because I didn’t think many people would read them, or because I simply didn’t have the time.
Two of the projects I’m most excited about are trying my hand at writing sonnets, and working on a legal thriller novella that I’ve had in the back of my mind for years. On top of these new projects, I also want to keep up with my existing writing workload.
I know that doing so much writing each day will be hard, but fortunately I’ve learned a few strategies over the years that will be certain to help me. If you’re also trying to write more, I’ll hope you’ll find these helpful as well.
Explore Multiple Genres
One of the best ways to stay motivated to write is to explore a wide variety of styles and genres. It can be easy to fall into a routine of always writing the same kind of thing, but if you do this for too long, it can just as easily become a slog. Writing short story after short story, or a blog post every day, can make writing feel like more of a chore than a hobby.
I’ve always found it easier to write frequently when I have multiple projects in different genres. If I’m in the mood to write fiction, I can work on a short story, but if I just wrote fiction yesterday, I can try a haiku instead.
Hopping between genres keeps writing fresh and interesting, which in turn keeps me eager to write.
An added benefit of this strategy is that each type of writing that I’ve learned to do has helped all of the other types. For example, learning to write legal briefs helped me bring clearer structure to all of my writing, even the fiction. Meanwhile, learning to write fiction helped me to make all of my writing a little less dry.
Use a Multi-Step Writing Process
When I first started writing, I went about the process all wrong. Instead of treating writing as a step-by-step process, I would try to do everything at once. I’d open up a blank document in Word, and immediately start trying to type out a final draft, editing each sentence as I went.
The trouble with this strategy is that I was trying to make my mind think in too many different directions at once. I was attempting to brainstorm, write, and edit all at the same time. This made me do a worse job at each aspect of writing, and it slowed me down considerably.
It wasn’t until I was in law school that I using a better method: breaking the writing process into multiple steps, each with its own focus. Now, I start writing by brainstorming ideas and then shape those ideas into an outline. Next, I write a rough draft, resisting the urge to edit as I go.
Editing and proofreading are the final steps in my process, and play just as large a role in shaping the finished project as the original rough draft did.
I’ve broken down my specific process for blogging in even more detail before:
Steal This Blogging Workflow
Struggling with writer’s block? A more structured workflow might help.
When it comes to writing longer form content and fiction, the biggest difference in my writing process is that I’ll typically do even more rounds of editing.
Adding these steps might sound like it would slow me down, but it actually allows me to write much faster. By giving my mind just one task to worry about at a time, I’m able to stay far more focused than when I try to do everything at once.
Write Down Every Idea
In the past, I used to struggle with writer’s block. I’d either run out of ideas to write about, or have trouble just getting started with a project.
My problem was that I was waiting to start brainstorming until I sat down to write. That put a ton of pressure on me, which only made brainstorming harder. It’s also pretty difficult to find inspiration when I’m just sitting in my room staring at a blank page.
A better way to get writing ideas is to let the inspiration come to you throughout the day, even when you aren’t sitting in front of your desk.
These days, I keep a running list of writing ideas on my phone. Whenever an idea pops into my head, I make a note of it as soon as I can. If it’s only half an idea, I still write it down, and hope that I can come up with the other half later.
When it comes time to actually sit down and write, I always have a list of jumping off points to get me started. I never have to start brainstorming from scratch.
I hope these tips will help anyone who has been getting stuck with writer’s block. The great thing about trying to write more often is that it typically gets easier the more you do. Although writing can feel daunting at first, it will soon become a hobby that you look forward to each day.