Flex your writing muscles regularly
We’ve all heard about how important it is to stay fit and we’ve also been told that the best way to do that is to constantly exercise. Deciding to exercise every so often can make you sore or ready to give up again because it seems like so much work. Writing can be the same way. We need to constantly flex our writing muscles in order to keep them from growing stale.
How hard is it to start a new project? What do you do when you’re suddenly given a project and you don’t know where to start? Well, both can become easier if you constantly stretch and tone those writing muscles on a regular basis. For me, non-fiction writing has always been a staple and relatively easy thing to do because I did it for so many years as a broadcast news writer. I knew I was going to be writing every single day. Some days I wrote long news stories, some days I wrote nothing more than short teases to the next segment or re-wrote a wire or previously written story. But I was constantly writing. These days when I have to write every day, it might be a blog or a response to someone in a class I am teaching.
The key, though, is that I am constantly writing.
If you don’t work on your fiction writing every day, there are ways you can work on your own writing. Consider a few things and then chose what will work best for, but look for opportunities to write:
Write a blog.
I often suggest that because it can help you get your name in front of would-be readers. If they already have read your blogs, they might be more prone to buy your book when it is eventually written. Many people ask how to come up with ideas for blogs, but those ideas are all around us if we just look around or take the time to think of what we know as writers. Readers love to know what gives a writer ideas or how a writer works, so write a blog on that. Write one on a book you want to write. It could get you new readers in the future.
Try a character sketch for a book you want to write.
I am constantly coming up with new character ideas. If you find that too, then don’t just think about how that character might fit into a book, trying sitting down at your computer or with pad and pen or pencil and start writing up a character sketch. You can either do it as a list or as a couple of paragraphs about the character, either in description form or putting the character into a situation. You can even describe the character from someone else’s viewpoint.
Try writing a short-short story.
I’ve seen some clever shorts that have been written by authors who just had an idea and wanted to put it down on the written page to either share with someone or to use in an upcoming book. Who knows, as you plan your next book, you might find use for this character or the character sketch.
Try writing something descriptive about the scene around you.
I particularly like this idea because you can always use that later in a book you are writing. Think about the weather, the feel of the location, the people around you, the sounds, the smells and just write a scene setting that describes everything. That really can sharpen your writing senses, even if you never use the piece. You can also use this exercise the next time you have to write a scene setter and use some of the same techniques you used in writing it to write the scene setter in your next fiction project.
Take the research you’ve been working on and write it into a scene.
If you’ve been researching as time period, put it into a paragraph in the eyes of someone visiting that time period from the future or even in the time period itself. Let your imagination wander and you might even have another scene for the book you are working on.
Try a different form of writing.
If you constantly work as a fiction writer, try writing a non-fiction magazine article or even attempt a newspaper story. I’m not saying you could necessarily get it published, but you can always try. In addition to being a fiction writer I still write non-fiction pieces or historical scripts for a television production company. This is a totally different form of writing but I find that it sharpens my writing capabilities in my fiction work too. I still get a thrill when I hear a narrator reading my work aloud, knowing it’s going to be heard by thousands of people.
Just write differently
Writing in a variety of forms, like poetry, articles or short blogs can help your fiction writing in so many other ways. Constantly flexing or expanding your writing muscles can help you next time you have to write under deadline too. Instead of just staring at the keyboard and worrying about the ticking clock, or wondering what to write, you will know you have the capability of getting the job done. Your writing muscles will be better tuned and ready to go!
If you want to get started on a new writing project, in a few weeks I will begin a new class at Savvy Authors on writing fiction, and starting a new story from scratch. If you have a book you’ve been wanting to write please join us to get ideas on plotting, putting your characters in place and putting a story together. We’ll tackle scene settings and dialogue and all those other small things that go into writing a novel.
Join Becky for Let’s Write a Story and get writing!
Becky Martinez is a former award-winning broadcast journalist who writes romance, mystery and romantic suspense. Her latest work, a short story, “One More Romance” was published in the anthology, Sealed with Love. Her last mystery novel, Blues at 11, was published by The Wild Rose Press. She is currently writing the next entry in that mystery series featuring a crime-solving TV anchorwoman, as well as a second story set at Redfern Manor, the scene of her novella, Shadows from the Past.
She also teaches writing classes and has co-authored several books on writing with Sue Viders, Let’s Write a Story – Seven Ways to Plot, and Creating Memorable Characters. Both are currently available on Amazon.com. They are currently finishing work on another new writing book, Let’s Write a Story: The Plotting Wheel.
Kimberly Delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles as she can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach and wears designer clothes. But the TV anchorwoman has been accused of murder No one believes she didn’t kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her home may be The Big House and she may soon be wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.
Can Kimberly catch a cagey killer who will stop at nothing to bring her down?