Social Media Tips & Blog

6 Tools to Get You Writing: Which Do You Need Most?

A wrap up of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Resistance the AmygdalaHere they are again:

  1. Environment—Make the place you create your art a place you enjoy being.
  2. Schedule—Habit and ritual give you power when courting the Muse.
  3. Timer—You can do anything for 5 minutes.
  4. Prewriting—Starting comes before finishing.
  5. SMART Goals—You know what they are, but you don't use them in your writing—yet.
  6. Finding Why—Knowing your true motivation for writing and keeping it top of mind is like having motivation on tap.

Does one of them jump out as something you could really use? Do any seem simplistic, pointless, wrong? What's missing?

I'd love to offer some free coaching in the comments below. Answer any of those questions or ask any of your own, and I'll spend however long it takes to help you use those tools to get yourself writing.

My Writing Rituals

A songwriter friend, Charlie Cheney, asked about my habits and rituals. This is my quick unedited response to him. Later, a detailed wrap to the 6 tools to get you writing.

Here are the rituals I developed which allowed me to write 4,000 words a day quite often and as much as 10,000 words at least once, and how they've changed over time.

… more … "My Writing Rituals"

Finding Why (#6 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#6 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

It's easy to lose track of why you wanted to be a writer in the first place. If you have vague dreams of fame or fortune, those won't keep you going, especially when they don't materialize quickly.

While we'd all love to be rich and famous, I don't think that's why you write. It's not why I write.

I write because I love the feel of words. I write because I have feelings which are clarified only when I find words to put them in. I have ideas which might benefit others. I have questions.

I believe writing takes the vague, wandering abstracts out of my head and makes them clear, understandable things I can look at and play with. I believe it helps me decide whether they should remain part of my life or be forgotten in the drawer.

… more … "Finding Why (#6 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"

SMART Goals (#5 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#5 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

If you don't know where you're going, not only will it be harder to get there, you may not know you've arrived.

Business folk all know about SMART goals. They know you never begin something without those SMART goals.

A simple Google search will provide endless results, including the fact that everyone has their own version. I'll provide a brief review here using the version I like best.

Goals should be:

… more … "SMART Goals (#5 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"

Prewriting (#4 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#4 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Another mistake we make is to assume that what flows from our pen must be finished product. Logically, we know this makes no sense. There's always a bit of re-writing before the proofreading and editing. We would never expect others to deliver perfection without practice.

Whether it's the next chapter in your novel or a page of marketing copy for your website, it can help to sit down and intentionally scribble the ugliest, roughest draft you can imagine. Make it your plan to write something so simple, so messy, so basic, so ugly, that you can't possibly use it. This is just a note to yourself about what you're planning to think about considering writing.

This is much like the trick I use to get myself to do household chores. If a picture needs hanging, next time I see the hammer I lay it on the floor where the picture is to be hung. Then when I run across the box of nails, I set that in place. If the picture needs a hanger attached to it, that goes in the pile as well. Eventually I walk past, look at this instant picture hanging kit sitting on the floor, and realize that it will take almost no effort to finish the task. It gets done.

The hardest part about writing is writing. Not the polishing, the formatting, the editing. Just starting. Just putting down the few words that say what we really mean.

Prewriting is a way to start ugly and simple and just get something down on paper.

Once the task is started, sometimes the compulsion to continue is overwhelming.

That's okay too.

Up next: SMART Goals