A Writing Journey

The Genius Hat

We’ve all heard it: you can’t fix something you haven’t written. And yet it is still so hard to sit down and write that first draft (or rewrite the 8th one, when you realize there are so many things to improve…). There are lots of reasons for this, which belong in another post. Because today I’m going to share some tips I’ve gleaned from other writers, Writer’s Digest, and many other places. A lot of these tips are no longer attributed to a single person, and I can’t remember where I found them.

1.Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. This one can actually be really hard for me, unless I’m writing a blog post! BUT, I think in combination with other tips, this idea of “just write” can be really helpful.

2.Write for scenes, not word count. This one I really like because word count is my enemy. But writing to end a scene is something that compels me to continue writing – I want to get out what happens in the next scene too! I find I get more writing done with this idea than with meeting a word goal.

3.Set time limits. This one is helpful when I am struggling to write, but not as much when the flow is great. Setting yourself 20 minutes or a half hour is great to get yourself writing again, and if you fall into the groove and keep going that’s awesome! I will say, I don’t set myself for anything over a half-hour, because then it gets to be a chore.

4.Change what you are writing. This morning I was having trouble with my WIP novel, so I came to write a blog post instead. And you know what? I am feeling ready to tackle the novel next!

5.Give yourself permission to write. Usually this ends with “write crap,” but that mentality really brings me down. So yes, even if my first drafts are poorly written, I don’t like to call them crap. And it is hard to give yourself that permission to write (especially if there are other things that need attention, like pets, the house, etc.), but you just have to do it. Stemming from this one is….

6.Wear your genius hat. Sounds silly, right? It means, though, don’t give in to your inner critic who is telling you that those words sound bad, your idea is stupid, or what have you. It means put on that hat, and write. Pretend that everything you write is pure genius. You can put your critic hat on later for editing. This is a hard one for me. I found that actually having a specific hat to wear (I’ve started calling it my genius hat too) is actually really helpful in facilitating this. While I wear my genius hat, I can write no wrong. 🙂

What are some tips you’ve come across? What do you do to combat the lack of writing?

Write on,

Emily

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Comments on: "The Genius Hat" (1)

  1. I like that idea of having an ACTUAL “genius hat” to wear while writing. Those kinds of mental associations are legitimately powerful!

    “Give yourself permission to write crap” gives me mixed feelings, because on the one hand, placing a negative label on your work while you’re writing just makes your mind focus on that negative label. Better to resist judging it at all. But on the other hand, I agree with the sentiment – that IT’S OKAY to write something you don’t like, that not every word you write needs to be fabulous. That’s a really important thing to remember.

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