There are so many different products and programs out there for writers. Devices can range easily from $50-$500 or more. Then there are an endless list of programs for everything from submitting to grammar checks to specialized writing programs. So dear writing friends, what do you actually need to write?
A desire to write, or at least the discipline to sit down and try.
You read that right. If you want to write in a blank document on your computer, go ahead. I’m not going to stop you. If you want to write every word out by hand, I’m cheering you on. Do you want to buy that neat gadget that converts hand written text to typed documents? Will it actually get you to sit down to write? If so, go for it. You need whatever gets you to get words out of your head and into the world.
The thing is that for each and every one of us, what we need to get into the right mindset to write is different. During my early writing days, I was obsessed with writing everything by hand. I have bins full of my old writing journals. But now the thought of having to write a short story by hand makes my carpel tunnel act up, so I’m all about writing on my Chromebook.
Don’t worry about what all those other people are saying is the best device or program for writing. Find what works best for you, and write with it. If you find yourself getting stuck and you think it’s a medium issue, then try something new. But as my Mamaw (grandma) says, “If it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
All you really need to write is a little courage to let the words out.
Have you ever asked yourself what a creative space should look like? Over the years my creative space has changed looks many times. Whether you have lots of extra room to set up the full setup or you’ve got a tiny amount of space to call your own, let’s talk about the kinds of things you can do to make your creative space meaningful to you.
You don’t necessarily need a lot of room to call your own to establish your creative space. Sure, having loads of extra space to decorate how you wish would be awesome, but it’s not always practical. What you do need is some kind of routine that tells your busy brain that it’s time to focus on writing. You can do this by writing on the same couch cushion or spot at the kitchen table. The amount of space isn’t as important as what you use that space for.
Set the mood for writing. If your brain can think about something other than writing it will. Try making a playlist of writing songs or picking a certain scented candle to establish the mood for writing. Use your other senses to establish a habit that tells your brain to focus. You can think about all that other stuff later.
Are you an indoor/outdoor/at home/out of home writer? If you’re newer to the craft, you may not know where you best write at. Even if you’re a veteran writer, if you’ve hit a wall it might be time to try out different locations to see if your muse likes one location over another. Maybe you write best at home, but revise best at your favorite coffee shop. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to change up the location.
Just as it’s important to establish good sleep hygiene by turning your phone off and lets thoughts from the day quiet down, it’s just as important to establish good creative space practices. Once you’ve established the habit of writing, it will be easier to sit down and get those words down on paper.
You’ve sat down in your writing specific place. You’ve got the mug of whatever it is you like to drink. The door is locked, and the writing tunes are on. A new document is open and ready to be filled. But no matter how long that cursor blinks you’ve got no ideas. You’ve run out of words to write. Nothing is coming to mind. Now what?
First, you should know this is pretty common. When you’ve finished a draft, sent it off into the world to find a home, and sit down to write something new it can be tricky to come up with a new story idea. You’ve got some options, which we’ll talk about in a second. But for now let’s talk about that feeling of being uninspired. It’s not a fun felling to sit with. It makes you feel like the color gray, or like an empty paper bag. That feeling is a good thing, and here’s why. It means that your last writing project was full of emotions. It means that you didn’t hold back when you wrote your last piece of writing, and for that I hope you give yourself a big pat on the back. Way to go writing friend!
Now, let’s talk options. Here are some of my go-tos:
Pinterest writing prompts. Sometimes you need to borrow a spark and you can find those in loads of places around the internet. If Pinterest isn’t your thing, try Google or any other place you can find a good list of ideas.
Go read something. I usually pick up a literary journal or some kind of collection, be it short stories or poetry. You would be surprised at how many ideas you can get once you’ve read a couple of really good stories.
Switch up your genres. Sometimes we get so caught up in writing in the same genre that we forget to stretch ourselves a bit and try something new. New is scary, sure. But new is also exciting and it might be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing.
Not all writing time has to be spent writing. Don’t get out your pitchforks just yet, friends. A writer writes, right? Of course. If you want to be a writer then you have to write words, but sometimes a writer needs to be creative in a different way to recharge those creative juices. Maybe you need to go for a walk, or dust of that guitar sitting in your closet. Maybe you should pull out those water colors and paint a vase of daisies badly. Try being creative in a different way and see what comes of it.
Type whatever comes to mind for 5-20 minutes. Seriously, even if it’s the grocery list. You would be surprised at how day to day stress can impact our writing. If our minds are focused on the stresses of daily living, then it’s going to have a hard time focusing on creating. So, empty out that brain of yours right on the page and give the creative some space to breath.
Don’t panic if you have a bad writing day, or a long stretch of them. Being a writing is a lot of hard work. It’s some good days mingled with the some bad ones. That’s okay. Take a deep breath, and don’t give up because the words will come back sooner or later when they’re ready.