Saturday, February 21, 2015

Write Habits

Daily writing is not for everyone, but if you want to produce new work more frequently than once every blue moon you should consider making a weekly writing committment. I started this last year with Just Write Thursdays so I could get back to my old habit of trying some new ideas and having fun with story. Thursday is now my favorite day of the writing week.

I think the first step is decide what you most like to write. For me books are inevitably creative marathons, but writing short stories aren't. Short stories have always been my idea test strips, and I like that I don't have to spend months working on them before I reach the finish line. Blogging, journaling, and writing poetry are also fun for me and are even shorter than my short stories.

If you're not sure what form of writing would best fit as a new write habit for you, try prompts. I spotted this button for The One-Minute Writer over at Terlee's blog, and this gal offers daily prompts that are brilliant (and even better, brief.) The idea is simple, too: pick a prompt and write about it for sixty seconds. P.S., if you can't spare one minute to write, you should maybe stop calling yourself a writer.

Other habit-forming write exercises:

Carry a notepad with you the next time you leave the house, and when you see an interesting stranger, jot down a new name for him or her.

Compose your official author bio (and if you want it to sound professional, lie about everything.)

Describe a character with twenty-six words, using one letter of the alphabet for every word.

Make up a list of titles for stories you'd like to write (or that you'd never write.)

Open your dictionary to a random page, close your eyes, point to something on the page, and then write a story premise using that word.

Pen an acceptance speech for an award you'd like to win -- then write one for an award you'd hate to win.

Take five names from different random pages in your telephone book and make up a character for each one by inventing a description, occupation, and a conflict for them.

Tell a story using only one complete sentence.

Write down every word you can think that describes your favorite color, then do the same for your least favorite.

Do you have any tricks you use to get you back in the writing habit? Let us know in comments.


  1. Loved the author bio tip...;D
    Another cool site--writing a story in Six Words--is a favorite. Though I'm still trying to figure out how to tell my life in just six.. ;D

  2. One thing I've tried is taking the most minor character in a wip--it could be a waitress, a passing stranger, the neighbor's babysitter, whatever--and write something about them for a brief five minutes or so. If there's no current wip, a red shirt on a tv show or even a commercial will do. For me it tends to give the creativity a little kick, and maybe lays the foundation for a future major character.
    (warning: I've never been able to keep this to only five minutes).

  3. Cool tips. Definitely going to try them :)

  4. Keita Haruka7:33 AM

    One thing I've recently discovered that helped tremendously with my writing: role playing. By that I mean play by post roleplays. Because you really don't know what the other characters are going to do, and you're just one small part of the "mind" that's driving the story, it forces you to really work at characterisation, and especially in seperating things that you as the author knows, but that your character doesn't. I've found it tremendously helpful - not to mention a whole lot of fun!

    That's what I've been doing for Just Write Thursdays. ;-)

  5. Nice tips! I wonder how could one transform them for academic writing.

  6. The only "trick" I inadvertently stumbled on is to always leave off writing at the end of the session not at the close of a chapter or scene, but leave myself hanging so I want to come running back to the keyboard the instant I can. Silly, but it works.


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