Please welcome Sylvia Nankivell with a guest post on writing every day.
As writers we often wait for that flash of inspiration before we grab a pen and wrestle with the paper in a flurry of blood, sweat and tears. This flash can come at any time: when waiting for a bus, while drinking your morning coffee, or quite possibly not at all.
All master authors of the 20th century tell us that if you want to be a great writer, then you have to learn to write every day. Hemingway would rise after breakfast and sit at his office desk from nine until five. He treated it exactly like a day job, and of course the results were astounding. I’m not saying you have to don a suit, carry a briefcase, and chain yourself to the desk until five o’clock, but a little taste of Hemingway’s method can help.
The bottom line is simple: to be a great writer you have to write, and this means practicing writing every day.
Why Practice Writing Every Day?
Writers are the artisans of the written word; they are painters with language, and they are storytellers. To be the best at your job you have to hone your craft, and this means practicing.
You wouldn’t expect a ballet dancer to perform Swan Lake without a rehearsal; you wouldn’t expect a baker to make a cake without the proper ingredients; and you wouldn’t invite an electrician into your home to fix your wiring if he or she had no experience. The same goes for writing.
You will never get better at writing if you don’t practice; at the end of your daily writing session you might have five pages of junk and one paragraph that means something, yet it doesn’t matter—if the art of practice delivers one sentence, then it has been worthwhile.
How to Find the Time
If you want to write, you will make time for it. I have heard of mothers waking up at five in the morning to write for two hours before their children stir. I have heard of bankers catching an hour on their lunch breaks to scribble in the park. If you are a writer, you will steal minutes from your day to polish your craft and commit words to paper. However, it must be done every day, even if it’s one word, one line, or one paragraph at a time—the art of writing must be practiced.
Keeping the Juices Flowing
Finding fresh inspiration is never easy, but there are ways you can jump-start your imagination to keep the juices flowing:
- Start by keeping a dream diary and writing in it as soon as you wake up. Before you grab a cup of coffee or let your dog out, take a few minutes to scribble down what you remember from your dreams. You will be amazed at the wealth of imagery trapped within your dreams, and it may also allow you a deeper look at your innermost thoughts.
- Go to art galleries. When I am running dry on inspiration I simply pack my pen and paper and visit the art gallery. Walk around with your notebook in hand and write about the paintings. You can create whole stories or poems from a splash of color.
- If you are stuck within the home and fighting to find a subject to write about, try freewriting. This is an exercise where you commit the pen to paper for at least ten minutes. All you do is write and never pause. Just keep going and don’t stop. If you find yourself coming loose and panicking then you can simply write I remember over and over, and take it from there. Keep coming back to I remember when you get stuck. This is a great exercise for plowing through the mines of your memory and practicing your craft every day.
Make your notebook your treasure chest and use it to practice writing every day. A notebook is a writer’s best friend, and you should always carry it with you. Use it for mindless scribbling, doodling, collecting things you find in the street, and sticking in photographs you cut out of magazines. The notebook will come to reflect your inspiration and can be a spider’s web for collecting fragments of your imagination.
About the Author: Sylvia Nankivell is the owner of usedbooksearch.net, a free used and rare book price comparison search.