So you want to be a writer but have hit a snag. Your Muse, it seems, has abandoned you. That's a common problem among writers and word-smithers in any genre. Either way, writing requires you to sit down every day and stare down the blank page, but this need not be a scary or even painful task if you handle the situation properly.



It helps to keep a little book or even a text document with a few words or sentences of any ideas that pop into mind. Sometimes you might find yourself writing only a few words or writing out a complete article (to be revised later, of course.) Either way, having a list of ideas to get your creative juices going can be immensely useful. You can brainstorm by reading other books or simply by looking at their table of contents; browse blogs and gather information from a variety of sources; or head to the library and read a few international newspapers or magazines. Write down any ideas that come to mind. These ideas will help you being to focus so that when you actually sit down to write you're able to move right from idea to execution.


Set A Daily Word Quota

I learned this from Stephen King's book On Writing in which he says that he aims for 2000 words each day before he allows himself to move on to other things. That may sound like a lot but think of it this way: 2000 words could be five 400-word blog posts, two articles, or one thorough discussion of a topic. Whichever you choose, you don't have to restrict yourself. Instead, if you simply focus on developing the metnality and abiility to write 2000 words a day you'll find that your Muse will not foresake you. Instead, it'll be up to you to simply find the time to write. No, you don't need another cup of coffee, a cigarrette, a beer or anything else, what you need to do is sit down and simply start writing. Start with “The” and go from there.

If you want to hold yourself even more accountable, keep a spreadsheet of your daily word count. You might start off slow but, as you develop your writing abilities, you'll find that you word quotas will expand and you will begin to challenge yourself to write more each day. Don't be misguided, though, this doesn't happen over night. What you'll find is that you'll develop you writing over a period of months or even years.


Getting Started

Writer's block can be a terrible excuse. However, there are several ways around this, the first is simply a journal entry. It doesn't have to be especially personal but it helps to have a personal flavour. Write about your surroundings. Swear. Or simply write “write” and keep going. Refer to your brainstorming list. With all of those sources that you looked up before, you might find yourself writing only a few words down or writing out complete articles. Some of your writing will be pure gold, other will be less than dog excrement. Sounds horrible, but it's true. Further, if you're meeting your word quota you might be able to set aside some of your writing only to look at it later to be re-worked into something different.


There's More to Writing Than Just Writing

There is more to writing than simply putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard so don't forget to get out and enjoy yourself, meet people, socialize and, above all, go do something, not just reading and writing. I've found travel has helped immensely in my writing simply because it offers one of the easiest things to write about. However, that being the case, you'll have to find what time works best for you. What works for me might not work for you. You might find mornings the best to write, or after midnight. With wine or completely sober. Caffeinated or not. Poor or with money in your pocket. Try it all out and see what works best for you.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
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