It may sound like basic advice, but as a writer, you should be writing every day. Even if you are currently not working on a project, you need to keep your skills in play.
- Tiger Woods practices his putting, drive and swing on a daily basis.
- When she was still performing, Barbara Streisand was famous for her hours of daily practice.
- Michael Phelps swam miles each day.
- Lawyers, lawyer each day.
- Doctors are doctoring…
You get the idea. In order to keep your skills sharp, you need to practice writing each day. So what if you aren’t in the middle of a project, or what if you have writer’s block or your characters have taken an unexpected hiatus; what then?
Stephen King, in his book “On Writing” (a GREAT read, by the way) offers some advice on writing every day – JUST DO IT.
To help you out, following are five ways to help get you started:
- Check out this site: One Word. Here is the premise:
Simple. You’ll see one word at the top of the following screen.
You have sixty seconds to write about it.
Click go and the page will load with the cursor in place.
Don’t think. Just write.
For example, the one word for today is: Audience
What would you do with that word? Once you have participated in writing for 60 seconds you have the opportunity to share your words and read how others have taken the one word prompt to create a few sentences. Hopefully, that sixty second exercise will inspire you to continue with that thought or write something different.
- Teachers Corner also has a great website that offers 365 writing prompts – one for each day of the year. Click here to find: Daily Writing Prompts. It is a teacher’s resource so many of the prompts are school related, but if you are stuck for something to write, this is a great resource for finding an idea.
Today’s writing prompt? Did you know that February 25th is “Quiet Day?” What might you write about that focuses on being quiet.
- Another writing example might be to take a favorite book, open to the first page and using the author’s first sentence, create your own beginning.
“It was a dark and stormy night…” Where might that beginning take you?
- Take a book you have written or are in the process of writing and rewrite a scene from a different character’s perspective. If you are writing in first person, write a scene in 3rd person from a minor character’s point of view.
- Or finally, look out your window and write what you see. For example, as she looked out her window at the snow covered yard there is a single set of footprints walking off into the distance. Who was it? Where were they going? What did they hope to find?
Poet Laureate Billy Collins spoke a number of years ago at The Chautauqua Institute and someone from the audience asked where he got his inspiration. He confessed that sometimes he just looks out of his window and writes what he sees. It might be a person or a flower or an abandoned toy but the longer he looks the more opportunities he has for inspiration.
Bottom Line: Stephen King says it best.
“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that (wall) from space without a telescope.”