I HAVE read the blogs, I have been to the workshops, I listen at festivals. I know exactly how to start writing productively.
Tip #1: Start Your Engines
Turn on the computer and turn OFF your internet AND all social media notification pop up thingys.
I know it is tempting to keep the momentum going, to keep connected with the outside world, especially as you sit in silence with only the tap tappety tap of the keyboard for company, but turn it off.
Have a pen and paper (remember that combo!) beside you and write a quick list of research or wanna' know stuff when it comes to mind.
You can have a research frenzy later, when you have, say, 10,000 words on screen!
Tip #2: Let the Words Flow
Close your eyes, position your fingers on the correct start keys on the QWERTY keyboard and start typing.
Let it be a completely random flow of thoughts.
It honestly doesn't even matter if you are not the world's most proficient touch-typer; it is the flow of words which is to be induced, not the next Booker Prize winner.
(I have done it before, not won the Booker, but typed with my eyes shut. I realised afterwards, when I tried to read the words on the screen, that my type position had moved left one key and I had a page of gobbledygook! It was the most amazing stream of consciousness, witty and erudite and the formation of an incredible story. At least that is what I tell myself when reflecting on why I haven't won a Booker Prize!)
Tip #3: Choose/Use a Deadline as a Motivator
You are warmed up now. Surely you have a deadline, which is nagging for your attention?
If you are vacillating between editing a manuscript which has been sitting in the bottom drawer (and let's face it - not all of us have agents knocking at the window asking for THAT manuscript) or you have decided to enter the next amazing competition (remember, we have already ditched the Booker entry forms…) you have to write now with a goal in mind.
Deadlines are incredibly useful for motivation.
This year, despite wishing for an invitation to work on an animation film script as one of a talented team of writers sitting exchanging one liners whilst chilling, my first priority is a competition, deadline: Thursday 31st January - which is in five sleeps.
I am feeling rather sanctimonious about the amount of work I have done for this so far.
That is, if you count absolutely hours thinking about what I am going to write and then three pages of very rough notes on a 10cm x 8cm notepad.
Tip #4: Get a Bigger Notebook
No, I don't mean get in the car and drive to your nearest favourite stationery store (and let's face it, for a writer, the next favourite shopping experience after a bookstore is a fabulous stationary store!)
I mean go to your favourite dog-eared notebook which has wandered around with you aimlessly during the holidays, the pen stuffed into the spine, eagerly awaiting to be ripped out of the confines and spilling ink onto those glorious blank pages.
Map out all the thoughts which have been swirling in your head, see if it leads you anywhere. (Of course, if you are functioning fully in the 2000′s rather than the 1900′s where I seem to dwell, there are amazing story mapping programs available on-line.)
Tip #5: Now just write!
That is probably the best advice on this page.
There is only one way to get enough words to hang together to form some semblance of a sentence, and only one way to get enough sentences together to form a story… just write.
And for me right now? I have finished writing this blog, I am on a roll. What about you?
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.