Writer Whitney: (distracted) It’s been a busy few months.
Editor Whitney: It certainly has—so where’s the boom of stories and ideas that is supposed to follow new-ness around?
Writer Whitney: Um… Well, see, the thing is… I’ve been writing in more of an… Abstract sense?
Editor Whitney: (Glares) Translation—not at all.
Writer Whitney: That’s so not true! I’ve been writing plenty! (looks apologetic) Most of it just hasn’t been good enough to make it to your desk.
Editor Whitney: How many times do I have to tell you that I want to see everything, no matter how rough it is! Let me see what you’re working on now.
Writer Whitney: OMG, no, don’t come any closer! I-I’m not ready!
Guilty as charged. My WIP count is pathetically high. It has been a busy few months, but isn’t that always the case? We’ve talked about how real writers make time to write even when things are hectic. We’ve talked about ways to overcome writer’s block, stop procrastination before it begins and about strategies to understand your writing better. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few misc. strategies for writing practice in general.
1) Keep that WIP folder down
Give that folder a number, and do not go over it. If you have an idea, eliminate one already in progress work to make room. Period. No, you may not fudge the number just this one time.
2) Keep schedule
A technique I’ve begun trying to implement is using timetables for my stories. If something has been on my to-do list more than 2 weeks, it gets set aside for at least 2 weeks before it’s something I’m allowed to work on again.
3) Know when to stop writing
We all have those dud ideas or those pet projects that we just don’t want to let go of. We sink time and money into polishing them, but they never shine. Know your limit and know when you’ve dedicated too much time to a losing cause.
4) Know the questions to ask when your characters get close-lipped
Always remember that writer’s block is one keystroke away. Be prepared—have your techniques lined up to deal with it. Know how to face off with your characters and get them talking to you again. Don’t let them push you around.
5) Try microfiction. Right now
Anyone ever tried to write a story in a single page? Or even better, 100 words? It’s hard! There are times when I have to sit aside my current work and start something brand new with this restricting limit in place. By the time I’m done pulling my hair out over word choice and concept, the original story looks like a cakewalk.