Novel Writing

5 Things Killing Your Writing Productivity

This post is a well-timed reminder for me; I hope you find it useful also.

Novelty Revisions

writing

How do you become a more productive writer? That’s a loaded question. Productivity, as you hopefully already know, requires a few major attributes in terms of writing well, often, with purpose. One reason many self-proclaimed aspiring writers can’t get any writing done is because they can’t get past common roadblocks to writing productivity … or rather, they don’t even know what these potential roadblocks are.

There are habits and circumstances killing your writing productivity. Here are the most common ones, and how to extinguish them.


1. Self-editing

Self-editing, while you’re writing, is destructive and time-consuming. It’s tempting; I know. I still do it way more often than I should, too. If you’re always stopping to fix what you just wrote five seconds ago, your piece isn’t going to move forward very quickly, if at all. As tempting as it may be, save editing for later. Always finish writing first…

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Novel Writing

How often should a new author write?

As a budding author and newbie writer, one of the most pressing and early questions you ask yourself is how often you should write, and if it’s okay to take breaks. Hopefully, this blog will help you to find the right answer for you.

Try out different schedules

Sometimes the best way to work out when to write is to try different times and see what works. Simple huh? When I first started my novel, I decided to write for an hour each evening. This didn’t work so well, mainly because I kept falling asleep… I am not a late night person. Next up I tried to steal a few minutes here and there and write on my phone. My writing became disjointed, and I lost my flow, I found I needed uninterrupted time to write. Next, I tried my lunch break. Again, this didn’t work, phones were still ringing, and I couldn’t focus. New plan. Mornings. This is working far better. For me as a morning person, I can concentrate so much better. Trial and error is a brilliant way to find your writing zone.

Make a commitment

Don’t just write when you feel like it. Writing is hard, so eventually, you will need to push through your feelings and make it a habit. If you don’t commit to a certain amount of time to write, it just won’t happen. Be dedicated and conscientious. Discipline is critical, nobody has achieved anything great without it.

Keep your space sacred

I wrote without a desk for the first six months or so, and my back didn’t thank me. I don’t like being constrained, and I love variety, so I thought this would work. However, I have found that if you find a comfortable and productive space (desks are, it turns out, perfect for this) and return to it each day, your productivity will increase. Is it psychological? It might be, but whatever the reason it works for me.

Be prepared to sacrifice

Whether it’s time at the pub, late night telly, or a few extra hours in bed, you will need to give something up to make time to write. For me, this means waking up at 5.30am. Ouch. But it’s the only time I know I can give my full attention to writing on a regular basis. Nothing worth having comes easy, and writing is no different.

Be kind to yourself

You will not be able to stick to the rules you have set out for yourself one hundred percent of the time. It’s a fact. We are human after all. Progress, however, takes place in the eighty percent of the time when we do hit our targets. That’s when the magic happens. When you fail, be kind to yourself, it’s ok. Just don’t let the fear of failure stop you from even trying because the eighty percent will never happen.

Take breaks sparingly

There will be days when you don’t feel like writing. Resist giving in to the temptation of skipping a day. Quite often the problem isn’t that you need a break, but that you need to push through a difficult patch in your story. If you write anyway, you’ll probably find that you finish your time energised and excited by your progress. Just keep on keeping on.

 

Grammar

Verbs in Fiction – Pow! Whack! Boom!

We have an action packed Grammar BootCamp today, get yourself settled and let’s begin. We’ve previously been looking at clauses and the different types of clauses, main clauses and subordinate clauses. Today, we will look even deeper into the nuts and bolts of writing and study VERBS.

Verbs are words which convey an action or a state of being

Here are a list of common verbs-

1

Imagine your writing without verbs, how boring would that be? All the direction and action would be lost.

Now imagine that you only able to use “boring” verbs how restricted would you feel? Imagine if you could only use the word laugh and not scoff, or giggle, or chuckle, or even titter

A large part of good writing comes from imaginative and emotive verbs. Next time you are writing why not swap out the standard verbs you use and see if you can add more spice to the action of your WIP.

Novel Writing

POV and Head-Hopping

Yesterday I received feedback from Stacey Wilk who kindly looked over my first five pages of my novel with the eyes of a developmental editor. I found her feedback invaluable and if any of you who may be searching for an editor make sure you get in touch with her as she is fantastic! To find out more information about her editorial services, please click here. One of the points she mentioned is that I occasionally “head-hopped” and my “POV” was quite vague. I had not heard these terms before, so I’ve done a little research, and this is what I have found.

Connie J. Jasperson on her Blog Life in the Realm of Fantasy gives this definition of head-hopping –

Headhopping occurs when an author switches point-of-view characters within a single scene, and happens most frequently when using a Third-Person Omniscient narrative, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader.

New writers are generally advised not to head-hop, i.e., switch viewpoints midway between scenes as unless they can expertly implement this they will most likely confuse their readers. Eric Lathi states on his blog –

No matter what anyone tells you, there’s only one rule worth following and that’s don’t confuse your reader…If you’re deep into a character’s head and suddenly you’re in some other character’s head, the result is going to feel like hitting a fire road in Ferrari. And there you go, you just violated the cardinal rule and confused your reader. Your hard work was flung across the room or reduced to random bits on someone’s tablet.

For this reason, I am going to steer clear of head-hopping. I like to keep my life simple, and I’d rather not use a technique in my writing that is going to make things more confusing and require much more work to get right. I’m going to stick to one point of view per chapter and only write about what that character would humanly know.

Now back to the outlining drawing board….

Novel Writing

5 Tips for New Writers

I have now been writing my Novel for about six weeks and here are a few lessons that I have learnt along the way. If you are an established writer please do feel free to comment your own lessons learned below – I would love to hear them!

1. You are your Greatest Asset and your Biggest Enemy 

Develop your inner cheerleader, because if you let self-doubt gain a foothold in your mind, then writing will feel like you are walking through treacle. Be kind to yourself and celebrate even the smallest achievements.  If you think you can and you think you can’t, you are right!

2. Keep the Drama Flowing

You love your characters immensely, so the temptation to tell all of their backstory and thoughts with the first quarter of your book is overwhelming. However, your readers don’t love your characters or even know them yet. Keep drama and action as the primary focus in the first few chapters. Give your readers the chance to love your characters, and then later you can show off all the fascinating backstories and inner lives of your beloved characters.

3. Learn all you can about Grammar (no matter how good you think you are)

Unless you have studied the English Language to a high-level, grammar will trip you up when you start writing. I have always been very confident in my skills, but when I started using Grammarly to double check I was appalled with myself. It was a humbling moment. I have since bought a book on English Grammar, and I am amazed at everything I have forgotten! One particular hint I have for you if you are new to writing is to learn to identify and avoid Passive Voice early on – your writing will improve dramatically!

4. Support from other Authors is vital  

I cannot underestimate the impact reading the blogs of other new and established writers has made on me. It has been the best source of motivation I have found throughout this process so far. Get yourself embedded in the online community and get all the advice you can!