Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tips for writing consistently – by Rita Karnopp

Tips for writing consistently – by Rita Karnopp
You’ll never finish a book until you set a deadline.  Once you do that – choose things that will keep you on-track to reach that goal.
How can you do that?  Once you’ve set your book deadline – you need to make a couple of important decisions. 

Pick a special place where you are comfortable writing.  A place where other people or distractions are not going to disturb you.  Could be your office – or the upstairs window seat, or even your bedroom.  Make sure you have privacy and those around you respect that.

If you don’t have privacy – have you considered a coffee shop or even a library.  I love writing when my husband and I are camping.  I find a shade tree with an incredible view, a lawn chair and then it’s time for my characters to talk to me.
Make your ‘writing place’ somewhere you can go consistently – and soon the minute you’re in those surroundings – your brain will automatically shift to a writing state-of-mind.

It’s important to set a time-period to write.  i.e. 30 minutes a day / an hour a day/ 3 hours every Saturday and Sunday evenings, etc.  Many writers suggest it should be at least 90 minutes because it can take some time to get yourself into the mood. Many writers say they never write for more than four hours at a stretch.  I let my mood and the characters decide when it’s time to take a break.  I’ve been known to write at stretches of 7 or more hours.  Sometimes only 1-2 hours.  It depends on how it flows. 

Consistency is key to setting a book deadline date.  Figure out what time works best for you to write – and stick to it.  I write best from 8:00pm to 4:00am – yep – and it seems the later it gets (or in reality - the earlier it gets … 1:00am - 4:00am) the more alive my characters become.  I get lost in their story. 

Some writers never write at a certain time – they hold themselves to writing x number of pages each day.  This never works for me, but I know many writers who find this commitment gets their book finished by the deadline date.

For me – demanding a certain number of pages would shift my focus to the number of pages – creating anxiety and frustration.  I would lose my mood and lose concentration on what’s important – my character’s story.

Now is not the time to ask, “Can I write a book?”  Just write.  Let the characters take over and tell you what they want to say, do, react, decide, etc...  It may sound left-of-center – but my characters have created some of the most unpredictable situations – I would never have thought of them myself.

I never stop and read a chapter after I finish it – deciding if it’s good enough or what I wanted it to day.  I re-read my last page from the night before – get back in ‘the mood’ and go from there … staying in that creative state-of-mind.

Be confident in your ability to write your story.  Remember – ideas will come to you as the story progresses.  One day you’ll be blasted with ideas … write them down as they come to you.  Other days things might slow up – you have all those wonderful ideas you jotted down to fall back on.

If I’m struggling and forcing things – I stop.  Yep.  I stop writing.  That night when I go to bed I bring my characters to life in my mind.  I go to sleep running my characters thru scenarios … and literally fall asleep.  The next night when I sit down to write – those sub-conscious ideas spill onto the page – and my characters once again come to life.

Remember, you want to be a writer because you love writing. You love bringing your characters to life from page one to page 451.  Don't take the fun out of it with self-doubts and pressures.

Don’t write in a genre you don’t like – it will show in your story.   Embrace what excites you.  Be enthusiastic and determined to reach ‘the end.’  

Write what you love – and love what you write.  Stick to that rule and your readers will love your stories and you.


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