Personal editing. Professional results.

Ways to Get Writing Done

February 16, 2024
Posted by:
Ron Seybold

When we talk about writing at a Finishing School class, we have questions about how to work. Does your practicing make you succeed, or do you rely on talent? We study the way our breaks turn into procrastination. Every author is curious about what works better: to write daily in small chunks, or produce in meaty binges.

And how in the world can you dredge up some motivation when not writing?

We all have talent, to varying degrees. A recent show on the documentary series Tell Me More says that audiences and readers still think being a natural is the best way for a creator to succeed. That practicing, however, is within everyone's reach. I'm a fan of practicing. The best means to practice more is habits and rituals. I'm an old Catholic boy who's seen rituals in action. "Call and answer" can be like "sit in the same spot when you write."

Breaks are important enough to let your watch or a reminder timer go off once an hour to remind you to get up. Stretch, take a one-block walk, but return and stick to your plan to produce. Daily chunks versus marathon binges is like coffee versus tea: try them both and observe your satisfaction afterward. When you finish working, make a note about how you feel, in your body as well as your soul.

And motivation? I believe you act your way to motivation. You don't need to feel better to get going. You need to get going to give yourself a chance to feel good. Waiting to feel better in order to create won't work anymore. We have to act. You can start writing by simply retyping a passage you love from a book like your own. The voice and style of the words will encourage you and seep into your work. A magical scene from the movie Finding Forrester demonstrates how this trick works to get you writing.

The secret weapon for finishing is working. Whatever we can muster to keep our output and revisions rolling out will carry us toward the State of Complete. One more thing we talk about: what a book that's been completed looks like.

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