The other day, I was sitting on the sidelines watching my son’s soccer practice. On the field behind me a football coach was yelling at his players, saying, “If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough!”
My first thought was, “Man, I’m glad you’re not my boys’ coach.”
But that line bothered me for the rest of the day. Was he right? Will working hard make them better players? My thoughts turned to writing. If I worked harder, wrote more, would that make me a better writer?
The conclusion I came to was ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Yes, in that the more you do something, your craft is developed. But at the same time, if you’re doing it wrong, it’s like banging your head against the wall. It can hurt your craft and frustrate you.
1. Write as often as you can. I work a full time and part time job. I’m a mom and I’m taking classes. Time is more valuable than gold. But if I want to write, I just have to suck it up and sit down and write. That means I might only have an hour a day. But the reality is, the more I write, the better I get.
2. Read. When you read, study the way the author has constructed the story. Pick one or two elements that you feel are lacking in your book such as plot, character arcs, or conflicts within a scene. Focus on those two elements as you read and see how that author has developed them. Write down notes in your journal at what worked and what didn’t. Read another book and do the same thing. I find I learn so much by reading other author’s books.
3. Find critique partners who know their stuff. These people don’t have to be writers. Sometimes your best critiquers are actually readers that have the eye for when a character isn’t being true to themselves or the plot is sagging. Trust them. Listen to them.
Great tips. I’ll say, write anything! As a freelancer, I take on all sorts of gigs, and they all teach me something about writing well.
And take naps!
Love your tip #2. I think sometimes we think we have to only write when we have “long” stretches of time. Little spurts add up!
Love this post, Christy!
all of those are great ideas. i’m hoping to go to my first conference next summer, i’ve heard so many great things about them.
Nice points! It sounds backwards, but sometimes I end up getting more written at school during free time than I do if I’m not busy after school. I don’t know if it’s my subconscious realising there isn’t much spare time and trying to compensate or what, but I try to take advantage of it.
OKAY. #5 spoke to me. There’s a sci-fi I’ve been taking notes on for a year now, too scared to start it.
These are great. I went to the ACFW conference this year. It’s so inspiring to be around other people who are passionate about writing.
Excellent tips. I like #5 a lot!
Wonderful tips! I think reading is one of the most important things writers should be doing. 🙂
Yay, I do all of these things. 😀
My family bought the Wii Just Dance 4 this weekend. I was sweating while playing it. Sometimes I felt like I had just run a sprint. I would have done the coach proud. 😀
I’m with Vijaya, write anything. Write whenever/wherever you can.