Writing Advice of the Week: Get Consistent to Boost Creativity

Reading Time: 8 minutes
(Image by Fallon Clark via Adobe Firefly.)

When you’re in the thick of a writing project, whether you’re tackling a novel, short story, blog post, or something else, it’s easy to get lost in the creative process. And getting lost in your process is a great thing as long as the ideas continue to flow.

However, when the creativity stagnates and you find yourself spinning your writerly process wheels without gaining traction, it may be time to step back from the project at hand. But this doesn’t mean you stop writing—not completely anyway.

Instead, it’s time to learn about storytelling, content structure, or other aspects of writing from life itself.

Kicking off this week’s writing advice is a fantastic and relatively short video from Jed Herne, who shares 7 Nonwriting Habits That Make You A Better Fantasy Writer. In this video, Jed talks through how he leverages the mundane to spark the creative process. And while his video is geared toward those writing fantasy, the nonwriting habits he covers are widely applicable across the spectrum of writing projects. From learning why folks in your life like certain stories or movies to exercising for brain energy and health to just plain ole living life so you have experiential details to draw from, Jed’s advice provides a practical path to boost your creativity. And the best part is that you can start using these methods today.

And if you’re using methods to jolt your creativity but you still find it difficult to synthesize your ideas and get words on the page, you may want to check out this post by Terry Whalin for Writers On The Move about gaining traction through Consistent Action Instead Of Perfection. In the article, Terry talks about the ongoing process of learning how to tell stories and making consistent progress so you create consistent opportunities for your stories to be published. Because if you’re anything like the writers with whom I work, you want to help others through your writing, but that can only happen if your writing is available to the readers who need it. (And I believe there’s an ideal audience just waiting for your piece of writing.)

Now, creating a consistent creativity habit to keep the ideas flowing and a consistent writing habit to translate those ideas into stories sounds great. But it’s also the holiday season. Life gets a little busier than normal, and we all seem to have a little less time to do everything we need to do on any given day. If you’re feeling a little frazzled at the thought of finishing your NaNoWriMo project or balancing all your writing goals against holiday cooking, shopping, and parties, check out this article by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach titled, Short On Time? Here’s How Routines Can Help. Most cleverly, the article takes about two minutes to read and discusses the benefits of maintaining a routine not only to meet your writing deadlines and goals but also to stave off procrastination. I don’t know about you, but the holidays always seem to invite procrastination between social events, so this article couldn’t have come at a better time.

And speaking of holidays, what an optimal time for social research. As you immerse yourself in the activities of the season, listen into the conversations happening around you. How many folks hedge, embellish, or flat out lie in conversation? How many ways are there to say ‘no’ or evade a question? (Did someone in your life just come to mind?) Through conversation, you can pick up so many tips on subtext, and subtext is, in my humble opinion, one of the hallmarks of great fiction. Lisa Hall-Wilson for Writers In The Storm shares 6 Questions To Go Deeper With Subtext In Fiction. And subtext isn’t just about the words your characters (or friends) say, it’s also about their body language, gestures, tone, emphasis, and other components of the total way humans communicate. Consider your story against the questions Lisa poses to gain insights on how to better develop your character dialogue and thought to bring authenticity to the words they speak . . . or don’t speak.

You know that writing great characters goes well beyond engaging and authentic dialogue, and there are lots of ways to build character. If you find yourself languishing over your story because there’s something off about your characters and you’re not sure what, take a look at Direct Vs Indirect Characterization: How To Show And Tell by Jordan Kantey for Now Novel. Jordan’s article smartly breaks down characterization into two parts and explains each using an example from works of fiction so you can see how to employ these methods for yourself. Like the common advice, “show, don’t tell,” find areas within your story in which you’ve told your reader how a character is, and try a new way to communicate the same information more sensibly. Your own writerly creativity may surprise you.

As you’re nearing the end of your project or are looking ahead to the editing stage, you may be wondering how you will keep your readers engaged from the first page to the last. Assuming you have the basics of scene construction down pat, Carolyn Dennis-Willingham for A Writer’s Path shares How To Sharpen The First Sentence In Every Chapter. You want your story to make a good first impression for your readers, and you get an opportunity to make a new first impression at the start of every scene and every chapter. Carolyn urges you to make those first words count by drawing in your reader right away, and she shows you how she did this using examples of the old sentences compared to the revised new ones.

If you’re a career author, you may find yourself asking how you can sell more books. Penny C. Sansevieri for Self Published Author put together 7 Creative Ways To Sell More Books: A Comprehensive Guide For Authors—another one of those “perfect timing” articles, especially as holiday shopping rears its glittering, tinsel-covered head and you begin planning ahead to 2024. While some of the advice, like using social media for finding your target audience and promoting your book, is fairly standard, Penny also challenges you to build your email list and newsletter, collaborate with other bookish folks, host events, and more. There’s a promotion opportunity for every writer in this article, and it’s important to think about how you’re going to tackle marketing even if your book isn’t published yet. In fact, as I often relay to the new authors I work with, if your book is ready for content or language editing, your book business is ready for marketing. Don’t wait until release day to build your reading audience.

Happy writing!

▼ More of this week’s productivity advice

▼ More of this week’s writing craft advice

▼ More of this week’s business advice

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Or watch Fallon discuss this week’s writing advice in the video below:

Fallon Clark is the book pal who helps you tell your story in your words and voice using editorial, coaching, writing, and project management expertise for revision assistance, one-on-one guidance, and ghostwriting for development. Her writing has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine. Check out her website, FallonClark.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn or Substack.

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