The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.
– Agatha Christie
I’m not sure what the characters in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point would plan to do in the new year. Some of the stories take place way before 2013 – for example 1965, 1997 and 1998. Be that as it may, that is no excuse why I and any other writer can’t set writing goals. It’s a new year and that brings new chances to write. If you’ve been procrastinating about finishing or even starting that novel or short story, here are a few outside the box (and a few inside the writing box) ideas how to get yourself from wishful thinking to actually writing.
1. Do something else, like the late Agatha Christie’s suggestion above and I don’t think she meant using a dishwasher unless the dishwasher is you. Also try gardening (outdoors in season or indoor gardening in winter), walking, vacuuming and dusting, even sleeping. The idea is something mechanical and boring (washing dishes) and something that frees your mind to think creativity (walking, gardening) can kick-start an idea in your mind.
2. Keep a notepad – electronic or hard copy – and write these ideas down as they hit your brain – you don’t want to operate like a gnat. That means keep something to do so near your bed at night.
3. Take this latter a step further and start writing down your dreams no matter how silly they seem – analyze them or not, but the content alone may inspire a story.
4. Learn from other writers – aspiring, established or in-between. Read blogs, attend writing workshops and courses (online or in person), join writing organizations and groups (preferably some that you have to go to in person as the personal connection with writers is good for your writing soul).
5. Read novels and stories like you want to write – in print or e-book, whichever works for you. Reading others’ writing inspires you, not just with ideas, but with the writer’s style and grace.
6. Blog excerpts of your writing – but make sure you state that it is copyrighted by you and don’t post the whole story because it could be considered a first publication and may interfere with other publication (unless you self-publish; then you can do what you want). On the other hand blog posts can often turn into seeds for books – trade or self-published. For an example, see posts by Alex Leybourne at http://alexlaybourne.com/
7. Blog about your writing journey. We can learn from each other. For an example, see blog posts at http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/
8. Try to write every day, even if just for an hour. For inspiration on this check out Julia Cameron’s The Writer’s Way at http://juliacameronlive.com/
9. And perhaps most important – set writing goals for the year. Check http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/new-years-resolutions-2013-guide-for-writers/ and Alex Laybourne’s blog post for Jan. 2 at http://alexlaybourne.com/2013/01/01/new-beginnings-a-guide-to-2013/
Happy and prolific writing for 2013.
If you read my book (see book cover at the top), please review it. Thanks.
Sharon A. Crawford