I’m guilty of this, so I’m especially allowed to yell at others about this. I’ve been there. I am there. I’ve come through slumps and out the other side. Here are some of my writing rules:
Fine, sure, okay – they’re not hard and fast rules. And they’re mostly for creating new works/working on early drafts. I try my best to follow them, but even I don’t sometimes. It happens. And that’s okay
1. Start Now
Yes, now. Right now. Don’t sit around wondering how to begin – just begin away! And don’t get stuck in the trap of believing that you have to write your book or story chronologically. You most certain;y do not. So if starting at the beginning feels too daunting, then start somewhere else. Pick a scene that you really like or want to work on and begin there.
2. Don’t Overthink Things
Spending too much time thinking about writing means spending less time actually doing it. This is a close relative to rule #1 Start Now: don’t let inertia rule you. Overcome that first hurdle of starting and then keep going. Especially on a first draft, don’t worry so much about the artistry or fine detail work – that can come later.
3. Just Get It Down
Like I said in #2 – don’t sit there reflecting. Write! Every word doesn’t have to be a golden blessing from the divine. Any old words will do. But get them on the page and the keep moving.
4. Set Achievable Goals
You’ve got some words down now. Good! Great! How many until you decide to stop for now? It’s great to set goals for daily or weekly writing quotas, but the most important thing is to make sure they’re reasonable! Like I’ve said before, make small goals at first to ensure that you will reach them. Better to aim low and succeed while you’re building your confidence that aim too high and fail time and time again. All that failure takes its toll, mentally, and makes it harder to keep going.
5. Write Every Day
This is where those achievable goals really come in. The best thing is to set aside a small piece of time every day to write. Now, of course, life happens and we can’t always write when we want to. This is why I suggest both daily and weekly goals, allowing you to maybe miss or fall short one day, but make it up another day. Just don’t slack all week and then kill yourself trying to make up for it on Sunday!