12 Reasons Writing Is Actually Kind of … Terrifying?

3. You are in control. You have ALL THE POWER. Sometimes that’s overwhelming.

1. Out of all the ideas roaming around inside your head, you somehow have to figure out how to focus on just a few at a time. What happens to the rest of them? Do they stick around … or disappear?

2. You might write with a different “voice” than you speak casually, and sometimes the “real you” feels like a completely different person. How do you DEAL with that?

3. You are in control. You have ALL THE POWER. Sometimes that’s overwhelming.

4. There are these things called characters and sometimes THEY START DOING THINGS WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION AND YOU JUST HAVE TO GO WITH IT?

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12 Quick Writing Tips for Beginners (and Anyone Returning From a Long Break)

3. You don’t have to write a novel in a day. Take things one step at a time — slow progress is still progress.

1. Writing what you know a lot about/are interested in is a great place to start — there is always room to learn and branch out/expand your horizons once you’re more comfortable.

2. There is no “wrong” way to start writing, as long as you actually physically start writing (your own original arrangements of words, of course).

3. You don’t have to write a novel in a day. Take things one step at a time — slow progress is still progress.

4. You don’t even have to have a goal if that’s going to stress or overwhelm you too much. Keep it simple: Try to write just a little bit at a time at the start and see how things go.

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12 Simple and Effective Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills Over Time

6. Keep a journal — and keep it casual.

1. Reread (and critique) your own writing. We don’t like to look at our own mistakes, but it’s one great way to learn not to repeat them.

2. Try a regular series of writing prompts a few days a week — even if writing prompts aren’t normally your “thing.”

3. Blog as regularly as possible about a topic that interests you, even if you don’t publish your posts.

4. Read! READ READ READ READ READ! The best writers are also major readers (audiobooks count!).

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The 12 Most Rewarding Things About Being a Writer

Being a writer definitely has its perks.

1. You always have somewhere unique to escape to, even when you don’t think you need it.

2. Having complete control over the outcome of a story and the characters that live in it.

3. Realizing that you have the potential to tell a story no one has ever told before — at least, not the way you’re going to tell it.

4. Being able to seek revenge on your enemies without causing them any actual real-world harm. (You think this is a joke. It’s not. Or is it?)

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12 Bad Writing Habits You Should Break This Year

4. Only writing when you “feel like it.”

1. Writing the same story with the same characters over and over again.

2. Writing more than you read. (There should be an “almost” equal balance.)

3. Not putting your work out there because you’re afraid of being judged.

4. Only writing when you “feel like it.”

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Why I’m Not Tracking My Writing Progress Anymore

I’m done. Done, done, done. Forever. Probably.

For 365 days in a row, I kept track of almost every single word I wrote.

There were some exceptions — most tweets (except for one thread in particular that really should have been its own article), most emails, messages to co-workers, family, and friends.

But if I wrote an article, I tracked it. A book review? Tracked it. Worked on a first draft of a book? Tracked that too, Blog posts: Tracked. Cover letters, journal entries, headlines. I tracked it all in one single spreadsheet for the entirety of 2019 until the number at the top added up to 1 million.

This obsessive, time-consuming tracking had a purpose. And looking back, it served its purpose well.

But I’m done with that. Done with counting words, done with tracking number of articles written and books started. I’m done with all of it. And I couldn’t be happier … for a few key reasons.

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The New Story Idea You Never Asked to Meet

Even when you think you are out of ideas, sometimes ideas are waiting in the wings.

It was a Friday night. I had just worked for almost 12 hours straight, because sometimes in online publishing that’s just what you do to set up for a weekend. I was exhausted. Self-care was my new “thing,” it being a new year. Taking care of myself had to be a priority. It just HAD to be.

My plan was specific almost to the minute (because even in relaxation, I have to make some plans — I am who I am and I am not ashamed). Shower. Practice violin. Cuddle underneath a blanket next to my puppy and read a book, or watch YouTube videos — whichever my brain could handle by that time.

I made it as far as halfway through the shower before everything fell apart.

All because of yet another unsolicited story idea.

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12 Secrets of Writers Who Never Give Up (No Matter How Much They Might Want To)

2. They don’t let fear stop them from chasing their dreams.

1. They have their eye on one goal at all times and review it often. Someone once told me that even just looking at your goals every 36 hours or so can help you stay on track. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s hard to argue that keeping your eye on the prize can’t help even just a little bit.

2. They don’t let fear stop them from chasing their dreams. It is completely normal to be afraid of chasing after something you truly want, especially if it’s something big that many people don’t expect you to be able to accomplish. But fear can be used as a strength, instead of serving as a weakness. It can propel you forward, if you let it.

3. They are not hesitant to challenge themselves. Sometimes people consider quitting an activity because they start to feel stuck doing the same things over and over again. To avoid this, many writers seek out different kinds of challenges like contests and word sprints. Some even create their own challenges just to see if they can succeed.

4. They know exactly where to go when they need inspiration. “Inspiration hunting” in its various forms can take up a lot of valuable time if you don’t know what you are looking for. Some writers know that listening to a certain type of music, for example, is enough to get them in the right headspace for creating, and they jump right to that activity before each writing session begins.

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You Might Be Scheduling Your Writing Time All Wrong

Adding time for writing into your schedule is not a bad idea. But thinking there is only one way to do it could limit your productivity and leave you frustrated and sad.

Making the time to write is universally one of the most challenging parts of being a writer.

It does not matter how long you have been writing, how much or little experience you have, how much you have or have not published, how close to your definition of “success” you happen to be at right now. Writing time is precious, but for some reason, each and every one of us seem to struggle with this in different but equally exhausting ways.

Why is it so difficult to manage writing time? Probably because most of us have absolutely no idea how to make time for anything that does not involve an appointment or a solid due date … or other people sending you passive aggressive emails asking you why you haven’t turned in your work yet because it should have been done by now but technically I can’t tell you what to do so … hello?

For many people, taking on a new hobby or skill or line of work such as writing starts with figuring out when you are going to take time out of your day to practice on a regular basis. Yes — even writers practice. That’s why that random 500 words about your cat’s imaginary friend Steve that is still hiding on your hard drive technically was not a waste of time. All forms of practice count.

When it comes to creating schedules, there is a tendency to treat every writing session as an “appointment.” Which makes sense — I do this too, on occasion, to hold myself accountable. But for some people, establishing a set time to write does not actually work.

So are there other options for aspiring and working writers to consider? Of course there are. Please allow me some time to tell you about them — and remind you why it’s OK that there are different ways of making writing work for every writer out there.

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Writers: Beware of New Projects

New ideas are great — except when you can no longer handle them all.

By now, my list of “projects I want to work on when I finish all my current projects” spans multiple pages. When I get new ideas, I get excited. I want nothing more than to drop everything I am doing and start that new project as soon as possible.

Why not wait? Because I might forget about it! Or my enthusiasm might mysteriously vanish! Or — every writer’s greatest fear of all — someone else might get to it first. (This has actually happened to me, by the way. Hollywood made a movie based on a book I wrote, except it wasn’t actually based on my unpublished book, so I got zero credit. It has been seven years. I am still not over it.)

New projects are fun and exciting. Their shine is irresistible, their persuasion cannot be ignored.

But beware. The temptation of new things that can replace the old is often so irresistible that we often find ourselves with too much to do, too much to think about, no time to spare, and much more frustration and stress than anyone should ever have to carry on their shoulders.

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