Tips for Staying an Active Writer

For many of us, our day to day lives can be overwhelming. After we get done with our 9 to 5 job, there are sometimes many things still left to be done. When we get home, we might have to take the dog out, take the kids to their game or dance recital, maybe we have a paper due by midnight for our English 1101 class. With our schedules so crammed, how are we supposed to find time to continue honing our writing skills? Are we supposed to cut down time from our social life, our sleep, our exercise? Not necessarily.

First, we can cut or reduce our time spent using things such as social media and TV. But what if you’ve already reduced time or are great at multitasking? Here are some more ways to keep those fingers typing or pen moving.

  • Make a routine. Find a certain time and place that is best for you.
  • Don’t make a routine. Write whenever and wherever possible.
  • Don’t strive for a word count.
  • Record your ideas. If you’re on the go, record yourself talking out what you’ll write.
  • Keep a journal or blog for motivation.
  • Get a writing buddy. Contact a fellow writer and meet with this person once a week.
  • Just keep writing!

As my professors have told me, a good writer is one who writes often! I have also learned through my academic and creative writing that a piece is never its best the first, second, or maybe even third time around. Drafts are imperative for making a piece of writing better. I love writing poetry. I find that I can only write handwritten poetry during the drafting stage. I will jot down something, and if I don’t like it, I will strike one line through it. I choose not to scratch things out entirely because sometimes I find that I will reuse one word or a few scratched out ones and add them to the new material. Microsoft Word does have the track changes option, but handwritten poetry seems to work best for me.

A green, leafy plant sits on a table next to a notebook. A red mug of coffee next to them says "go get 'em" in gold. Photo by Kyle Glenn.
Photo by Kyle Glenn, Unsplash

What if you’re still struggling to find motivation and you are almost to the point of giving up? Well, first of all, don’t. You can choose not to edit your work while you are writing it. Take breaks. Get up from your desk and stretch a little or go outside. Get rid of distractions. Turn your phone on silent and your TV off. Find motivation through other writers. Read their blogs or talk with authors you already know. Look at creative writing prompts online for motivation. There are many ways to stay active as a writer, but it might take a while figuring out what works best for you. Good luck and happy writing!

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