Kick start your writing Part 2

Kick start your your writing, a session I facilitated last week at the Peter Cowan Writers Centre came about  by accident. It grew from a conversation over coffee with the Acting President, Susan Stevens. I mentioned that there was information that I would have loved when I started writing. Kick start your writing was the result.

PCWC logoKick start your writing Part 2 is the second half of the notes we used at Peter Cowan Writers Centre last week. The generous involvement of the participants made my work easy. Thank You to everyone who attended and shared their ideas.

Here are more suggestions to help kick start your writing

Everyone can write. It takes practice, in the same way all skills take practice. The more we write, the better at it we become.

Develop a writing routine:  Writers write. Every day. At least five days a week, seven are better.  We may think we don’t have time to write. Maybe that’s true. We need to make time! Can we watch  less television? Get up earlier? Write at lunchtime while we eat our sandwiches? Rearrange our timetables? Put writing in our diaries and make sure we keep the appointment?

Writing means putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and producing words. If we do this regularly, the words mount up. Two hundred words a day would produce 73 000 words in a year. That’s the number of words in a reasonable sized book.

Write ‘morning pages’: This is my favourite writing activity. A good plan is to write three pages in long-hand every morning. Don’t write for other people  There is no need stress about spelling or punctuation. Write whatever comes into your mind. morning pages help in many ways. If no one is going to see what you’ve written, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Many amazing ideas arrive on the page when we write freely for ourselves.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron discusses morning pages as an aid to living a creative lifeI cannot recommend this book too highly.

The Artist's way. Highly recommended for those who want to kick start your writing

The Artist’s way. Highly recommended for those who want to kick start your writing

Write scenes: Memoir (stories from your own life) and fiction consist of scenes linked together to make a whole. We can begin even long writing projects with only an idea and a character. Scenes consist of characters in a particular place and time, who are acting in some way. This can include talking to each other. Short stories, novellas and full length books are made up of  scenes. When we begin writing scenes, we don’t need a plot or outline. We don’t have to write scenes in order. That can come later. When we have enough scenes, we can order them and make a story.

Use writing prompts: You may find these helpful to kick-start your writing. Try prompts from books about writing, newspaper headlines, and the internet or make them up. Prompts can be a phrase or a few words to start the flow of ideas.

Deal with self-doubt and self-criticism: The critical voices from our childhood get stuck in our brains. They replay the same old critical messages. Was your critic a mother or father? A teacher? An older sibling? The critical voice might have had some meaning when we were six or eight. But it no longer serves a purpose. Find ways to silence that critical voice when writing.

I have a magnet attached to my computer screen. It reminds me of my mother, who used to pounce when I did something she didn’t like. My toy tiger represents the critical voice that wants to silence my writing and creativity. I can tell it to go away. It has no teeth and can’t hurts me!

Later, during self-editing and rewriting, the critical voice is essential. But not during the writing of early drafts.

To help kick start your writing, visit my Pinterest board on which I recommend books for writers here:

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