Set Long Term Goals
Nothing in the creative world happens fast. Make a five year plan – and try to have a novel published, or screenplay sold, or play commissioned in that time frame!
Write what you know!
Share your experiences with your audience, and you’ve got the best chance of accurately representing reality, and making a valuable comment.
Balance Comedy and Tragedy
Write in Different Forms and Genres
Maybe you’re actually better at comedy than tragedy? Maybe you’re better at screenplays than poems. Who knows? Give it a go.
If you’re running out of energy and motivation, consider finding a writing partner, and borrowing a little enthusiasm from them. Try to find people with lots of motivation though – otherwise you might end up doing all the work!
Maintain Balance in Your Life
Meditate, don’t Self-Medicate
Writing requires a lot of stillness and focus. Writers famously self medicate to achieve this state, but a non medical way of accessing focus is meditation. 10-20 mins of meditation prior to writing can settle you physically and mentally.
Reliable Writing Tool
Try Writing by Hand
Lots of famous authors describe how they write the first draft of everything by hand. Hemingway said he liked this technique because it allowed him an opportunity to rewrite as he typed everything into the typewriter. Many writers say they feel closer to the work when it’s hand written.
Interrogate your Favourite Writers, and their Work
If you figure out exactly what you like, and exactly why you like it, it’s going to make you a much better writer.
Read / see Films / Plays
You gotta. Be honest, you still going to see plays? Bet you stopped because it’s too expensive and the thought of trying to convince someone to come with you makes you want to internally combust. Also covid. You’re probably still watching lots of films and TV online. How much are you actually reading though? Less than you did, right? Perhaps nothing at all? If the cost is slowing you down, get back into that library. There’s also ‘library genesis’ but you didn’t hear about it here.
Get off / Limit Social Media
You will be amazed how many extra hours you get back by disconnecting. Feeling tired and rushed all the time? See if your phone or computer can tell you how long you’ve spent looking at them. Shutting down social media, or limiting it to one check a day, can make you feel like you’re living in 2003 again, if you remember such a thing.
Exclude Toxic People from your Life
You will free up so much time and mental real estate! Just do it. It hurts and you will suffer for it, but in the long run it’s better. Toxic people are the people who want you to apologise to them right now (think about it), and the people who would laugh if you told them what you most want to achieve in life.
The best people are the people who say ‘How can I help you to achieve that’ and the good people are the ones who say ‘Good on you.’ If someone tries to help you, hold on to that person! I’m drinking write wine on a Sunday afternoon and listening to ‘Music for Airports’ by Eno, which is why this is suddenly veering off course and into maudlin territory.
Join a Writer’s Group
Pretty self explanatory. Friends who like the things you do! Be generous to the group and share what you know too!
See if you can get paid to write reviews of plays / films / novels. This will force you to think deeply about the works you’re reviewing, and research them thoroughly. Plus you get to actually see plays, and get a little money.
Treat yourself to a creative writing course. There are loads of great ones out there and plenty that don’t cost all that much. Try to join ones that have lots of people, perhaps online. They can be very cheap.
Or if you’re looking for more personalised feedback, maybe consider hiring a mentor. Personally, I’ve found that mentors don’t tend to know all that much. I’m always completely amazed by how little they know actually. But there’s got to be some good ones out there. The best are probably those that have done it themselves. Get a novelist to teach you how to write a novel, not a publisher. Get a publisher to teach you how to publish.
Write Drunk and Edit Sober
I don’t actually do this and it’s a terrible recommendation but it was fun to type and Hemingway said it apparently.
Get lots of exercise to Clear the Head
Enjoy! Your life is short and you should spend it doing things that make you happy. Remember happiness?