Twitter Is Distracting. It’s Also Extremely Beneficial to Aspiring Writers.

It’s taken me almost an hour to write this post, and it’s all Twitter’s fault.

It’s taken me almost an hour to write this post, and it’s all Twitter’s fault.

OK. Obviously, it’s not social media’s fault that I can’t focus. Not entirely. We’re all responsible for adapting to the various challenges we face in our lives, and learning to remain productive despite how easy it is to get lost in a Twitter thread is just one of those things that either happens eventually … or it doesn’t.

The topic of online social platforms gets a little frustrating when you look at it through a professional lens. “Writer Twitter” is quite the place to be. It’s also a place many writers feel they “need” to be — despite the fact that Twitter is, in some ways, dangerous when you’re prone to distraction.

How do you stay connected and fend off feelings of loneliness and isolation when the very outlet that could save you could also hold you back from achieving your goals?

Continue reading “Twitter Is Distracting. It’s Also Extremely Beneficial to Aspiring Writers.”

Talking About Writing Isn’t a Substitute for Actually Writing

What are you going to start writing today? Right here? Right now?

I spend a fairly significant portion of my time “talking” about writing.

When I started this blog 11 (!) years ago, I suppose I had several reasons for doing so — one of them being that, as I understood it at the time, authors had blogs. And if I wanted to be like my favorite authors someday, my best bet was to start posting on a blog. (This was 2009 and I was a little “late” to the game in many ways, but still, no regrets.)

Another reason I decided to start “talking” (writing) about writing was that I am a problem-solver, and the best way I solve problems is by writing about them. At the time, my blog didn’t serve the purpose it does now. It wasn’t “really” for other people. It very quickly became a blog other writers could benefit from, but at first, I really just posted about what I was struggling with as an aspiring writer and what I planned to do to deal with those problems.

One of the most important things I learned through my early blogging experience is also one of the most important things every aspiring writer should learn at some point: If you’re serious about “being a writer,” you actually have to spend a significant amount of time … writing.

Continue reading “Talking About Writing Isn’t a Substitute for Actually Writing”

There’s Only One Thing That ‘Makes’ You a Writer

Do you call yourself a writer? If not, what would have to happen before you felt comfortable using that title?

Technically, I have never published a book.

The more time I spend casually offering advice to other writers, the more this fact bothers me.

Not enough to stop me from writing — not enough to make me question every single response I compose to strangers and acquaintances alike. It’s more like a subtle yet constant ringing in my ears. Most of the time I don’t even notice it’s there. But every now and then, I do. And for a short time after that, it’s so irritating that I can’t concentrate on anything else. At least until I get used to the ringing again.

We all, in some way, have our own definitions of what it “means” to be a writer. There’s nothing wrong with setting your own parameters defining what may or may not qualify you to use the title of “writer” in a variety of contexts throughout your life.

But sometimes, setting these parameters can prove harmful. At least in the way a constant ringing in your ears can seem harmful from time to time, anyway. Am I unqualified to give writing advice because I haven’t published a book? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe it’s the wrong question to ask when deciding who’s “really” a writer and who isn’t. Maybe it’s much simpler than many of us think it is.

Continue reading “There’s Only One Thing That ‘Makes’ You a Writer”

Seeking Encouragement and Asking for Writing Advice: What’s the Difference?

We all secretly wonder, from time to time, if we should just give up on what we’ve been working so hard on and pick a more “practical” profession.

“I’m trying so hard and I’m still not published and I don’t know what the point of writing even is anymore.”

We’ve all felt this. Every single one of us. All writers are the same in at least one of a few ways: We all have our dark moments. We all secretly wonder, from time to time, if we should just give up on what we’ve been working so hard on and pick a more “practical” profession.

In moments like these, it’s very common to feel lost, stuck, and like you’re completely alone in the universe. It’s during these periods of creative despair that we often turn to other people — often those more experienced than we are in our desired fields of expertise — for help.

But people aren’t always as responsive to these “requests for assistance” as we’d like them to be. And maybe that’s because we sometimes approach other writers seeking advice when we really need encouragement … or the other way around. Perhaps the problem is that many of us still don’t know the difference — or why it matters.

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It’s Not (Just) About How Much Time You Spend Writing | The Blank Page

We count our writing time in hours — but should we?

The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.


How do you measure your writing progress?

This question has a complicated and different answer depending on the individual in question. Some people aim to write five times a week and count any session as part of that five as long as they write at least a few hundred words. That works — you have to measure these things in ways that work for you.

But then there are all those things you hear about the 10,000-hour rule, and how long you “should” be spending on your writing on a daily basis (some even use “daily” in the literal sense — uh, please don’t). Should you be measuring your writing time in hours? Should you keep track? Does it matter?

There’s something that actually matters so much more.

Continue reading “It’s Not (Just) About How Much Time You Spend Writing | The Blank Page”

All the Work, None of the Reward (Yet)

Last year, I spent over 50 percent of my writing time composing words that still only my eyes have seen.

Last year, I spent over 50 percent of my writing time composing words that still only my eyes have seen.

In my (perhaps over-ambitious) quest to write 1 million words in 365 days in 2019 (I did it, but barely — more on that later), there was no way I could have spent 3,000 words’ worth of time every single day only writing words presentable enough for readers, editors, and potential collaborators to view.

Since one of the main purposes of this personal challenge was to force myself to all but completely abandon my natural state of perfectionism, I ended up spending a lot of time writing unpolished prose.

It’s an extremely effective way to train yourself to write anything and everything, anywhere, anytime. But there is one consequence to this particular method of practice: You end up doing a lot of work without the adrenaline rush that often comes with the typical rewards of completion.

Without anyone congratulating you — without getting paid, or promoted, or getting that metaphorical gold star many of us still secretly long for upon completing a lengthy and trying task — where do we gather the motivation necessary to get to the finish line? I have a few ideas.

Continue reading “All the Work, None of the Reward (Yet)”

12 Simple Strategies For Writing When You’d Rather Do Literally Everything Else

2. Plan your writing time in advance and treat it like an appointment, with a time and location.

1. Before you clock out of “work mode” at the end of your workday, set a goal for the next day’s writing session — “write for 30 minutes” or “write 1,00 words.” The specific goal is up to you.

2. Plan your writing time in advance and treat it like an appointment, with a time and location. “I’ll write tomorrow night” is a vague task very easily moved from one day to the next without any action.

3. Close yourself off from distractions. Believe it or not, you can survive 30 minutes or more without notifications and other disruptive alerts eating away at your writing time — especially if they’re preventing you from starting.

4. Start with a simpler writing task or a project that’s a little more informal, such as writing a page or two of something no one else is doing to see. It’s like a warm-up before a workout.

Continue reading “12 Simple Strategies For Writing When You’d Rather Do Literally Everything Else”

Enjoying What You Write Isn’t a Luxury — It’s Essential

Professional writing is a constant balance between the things you can’t wait to do and the things you’ll be tempted to put off doing for as long as possible.

Writing is a constant balancing act. With lives so hectic and time so seemingly scarce, creating space for Making Words Happen — even just the words that NEED to happen — can sometimes feel impossible.

So when you’re caught between the work that needs doing and the “fun” writing waiting to be had, how do you decide what’s more important? Is it even a decision — or just a matter of learning to create time for both?

Professional writing is a constant balance between the things you can’t wait to do and the things you’ll be tempted to put off doing for as long as possible. But making time for writing you enjoy isn’t something just the “lucky few” can do. You can do it, too — and you should.

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The 1 Thing Writers Fear Most (and How to Keep Writing Anyway)

It just so happens to be the one that prevents more writers from reaching their full potential than any of the others.

Publishing something that no one reads.

Publishing something that everyone hates.

Never being able to make a living as a writer.

Never achieving your writing goals. Never seeing your wildest dreams come true.

These are all, believe it or not, vastly common fears among writers and creators in general. But one worry in particular seems to stand out above the rest … and it just so happens to be the one that prevents more writers from reaching their full potential than any of the others.

Continue reading “The 1 Thing Writers Fear Most (and How to Keep Writing Anyway)”

How to Set Writing Goals If You’re Bad at Setting Writing Goals

Hello, fellow writer. I have some tips that might change your life.

Is there a writing project you really want to start and finish this year?

Are you really, really bad at setting goals you can actually achieve?

Hello, fellow writer. I have some tips that might change your life.

Continue reading “How to Set Writing Goals If You’re Bad at Setting Writing Goals”