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.
- 3 Tips For Writing When Overcome By Writer’s Block by E. M. Sherwood Foster for A Writer’s Path
- Video: 7 Non-Writing Habits That Make You A Better Fantasy Writer by Jed Herne for Jed Herne
- A New Kind Of Resistance (For Me) by Steven Pressfield for Steven Pressfield
- Consistent Action Instead Of Perfection by Terry Whalin for Writers On The Move
- Question Of The Day: Why Do You Write? by Johnny B. Truant for Writers In The Storm
- Short On Time? Here’s How Routines Can Help by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Sometimes Writing Is Hard by Peg Sias Lantz for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Video: Time Management For Authors by Mark Dawson for Self Publishing Formula
- Video: What’s Ideal For Writing Session Length? by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Video: Writer’s Block? Try These Ideas by Leeland Artra for Future Fiction Academy
- Writing Through Drama And Chaos by Linda S. Clare for Linda S. Clare
- #1 Concept Mistake So Many Writers Make by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
- Video: 5 Best Hero Tropes In Storytelling by Brandon McNulty for Writer Brandon McNulty
- 6 Questions To Go Deeper With Subtext In Fiction by Lisa Hall-Wilson for Writers In The Storm
- 7 Tips And Tricks For Getting Through Your Second Draft by Michael James for A Writer’s Path
- Act 3 — The Story’s Crown by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- Are These Issues And The Overall Dilemma Addressed In A Way That Avoids Moral Hypocrisy? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Character Type & Trope Thesaurus Entry: Bad Influence by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Podcast: Chosen Ones: Classic Or Cliché? by Oren Ashkenazi and Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Video: Claude 2.1 Is Way Worse Than 2.0. Here’s Why by Jason Hamilton for The Nerdy Novelist
- Video: Claude’s Broke? Nope! Megaprompting For Claude 2.1 by Elizabeth Ann West for Future Fiction Academy
- Close To You: Writing In Third Person Close by Brenda Copeland for Career Authors
- Direct Vs Indirect Characterization: How To Show And Tell by Jordan Kantey for Now Novel
- Dismantling The Myths Of Story Structure For Writers by Zena Dell Lowe for The Write Conversation
- Does The Story Include Twinges Of Real-Life National Pain? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Finding Your Voice As A Writer by Michelle Barker for Writers Helping Writers
- Finessing Dialogue, Part 2 by Stephen Geez for Story Empire
- How Evil Should My Pirate Character Have Been? by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- How To Sharpen The First Sentence In Every Chapter by Carolyn Dennis-Willingham for A Writer’s Path
- Humanizing Your Protagonist: A Crash Course In Character Development by Nikki Stern for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Video: Notion’s ‘Ask AI’ Feature Is Next Level by Steph Pajonas for Future Fiction Academy
- Video: Oppenheimer: How To Write Complex Characters by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- Science And Magic Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin by Ryan Decaria for A Writer’s Path
- Seven Common Believability Issues by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Seven Writing Lessons From Sherlock Holmes by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- Video: The 1 Line-By-Line Writing Trick To Engage Readers by Tim Grahl for Story Grid
- Podcast: The One Where Nyt Bestseller James Ellroy Details His Process by Geoff Emberlyn for Writers, Ink.
- The Timeless Power Of Universal Themes In Fiction by C. S. Lakin for Live Write Thrive
- Video: What Is A Trope? Should You Use Tropes In Your Writing? by Shaelin Bishop for Reedsy
- Why The Protagonist Must Be A Problem-Solver by September Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- Writers: Beware Over-Workshopping Your WIP by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Young Adult Books: How To Write Groundbreaking YA by Simran Sandhu for The Novelry
- Writing A Really Short Book Description Is Harder Than It Looks by Amy L. Bernstein for Jane Friedman
- Indie Author Deals — Black Friday And Cyber Monday Alli Partner Discounts 2023 by AskALLi Team for Self Publishing Advice
- Starting A Second Career As An Author And Networking Tips With Patrick O’donnell by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- Crossing Categories by BettyJoyce Nash for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- 7 Creative Ways To Sell More Books: A Comprehensive Guide For Authors by Penny C. Sansevieri for Self Published Author
- Video: The Last 20 Books To $50k Highlights And Takeaways by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- Do I Need A Launch Team? by Tammy Karasek for The Write Editing
- Video: Direct To Fans: What Is Kickstarter? by S.D. Huston for S.D. Huston
- Successful Marketing For Multigenre Authors: Reaching More Readers by Dale L. Roberts and Holly Greenland for Self Publishing Advice
- Diy Vs Hiring A Book Layout Designer: Which Should You Choose? by Althea Storm for The Book Designer
- Video: How To Publish A Book On Amazon KDP In 10 Minutes | Step By Step by Dale L. Roberts for Self-Publishing with Dale
- 20booksto50kvegas 2023 Part Two by Dina Santorelli for Self Publishing Advice
- Podcast: Wattpad Increases Its Offering To Paying Subscribers by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Understand And Know Your Competition by Terry Whalin for Almost An Author
- Do You Need A Book Proposal “Cheat Sheet”? by Lisa E. Betz for Almost An Author
- 10 Best WordPress Themes For Authors by Shannon Clark for The Book Designer
- Video: Build Your Business With A Free Book by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- Video: 10 Things You May Not Know About D2D by Mark Leslie Lefebvre for Draft2Digital
- Podcast: The SelfPub3 Author Business Campaign by Orna Ross and Melissa Addey for Self Publishing Advice
- Video: Quick TikTok Fixes For Authors & Creatives (Get More Views And Sales) by Shelby Leigh for Marketing by Shelby
- Tips From A Cold-Email Marketer For Your Submissions And Query Letters by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
We subscribe to more than 180 writing advice sites and gather the best posts for you every single Sunday. You can see all the previous writing advice of the week posts here and subscribe to the RSS feed for this writing advice series here (direct Feedly signup link).
Are we missing any writing advice sites? Email [email protected] or leave a note in the comments below.
Or watch Fallon discuss this week’s writing advice in the video below: