Learning from the masters

Struggling with your writing? Not sure how things are meant to be done?

Whenever you are struggling with punctuation or dialogue, or pretty much any literary problem, then you should take a look at how the “professionals” did it. Generally, you will find that most successful writers abide by the same set of literary rules, especially when it comes to matters of grammar and punctuation. Even though every writer has their own unique voice, they still manage to ensure that their story reads like a novel.

Of course, some people would argue that rules are there to be broken. It is totally up to you how you shape your project, but if you’re ever in doubt of your approach, then it might be useful to seek guidance from the millions of existing books. Most writers are encouraged to read widely and learn from the masters, though it is perfectly okay to do your own thing. I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s good to know the rules before you break them.

Getting into the zone

Having trouble writing? Below are some general tips to fix that…

1) TURN OFF ALL DISTRACTIONS. I know it can be difficult in this modern world, but try to stay off the internet and even turn off your phone if this is providing distraction. You need to focus on your writing, and you can’t do that if other things are taking your attention away! If you like to check your emails, then perhaps check them just once an hour, instead of every few minutes.

2) DO MUNDANE TASKS. Yes, that’s right! It’s scientifically proven that if you do mundane tasks, then it will inspire you to be creative. Avoid tasks that require too much attention (like sudoku puzzles and reading) and avoid tasks that require no attention (i.e. sitting down doing nothing). If you want to get into the zone, then you need to do mindless tasks (i.e. going for a walk or doing the dishes). So that’s great news for stay-at-home writers, because doing the chores can help you to write!

3) MEDITATION. If you’re feeling stressed or something is on your mind, then this can get in the way of writing. So why not try some meditation to stabilise your emotions and clear your mind? I promise you, it really does work! It may take a bit of time to get into the swing of it, but it can be extremely helpful.

4) TRICK YOURSELF INTO TAKING THE PRESSURE OFF. Quite often, we put so much pressure on ourselves to write, which can actually be detrimental. You must approach your project with a relaxed attitude and remember to have fun! Most of us write because we enjoy it, so don’t forget that! If you can convince yourself to stop worrying about your writing, then it can suddenly inspire a creative frenzy. For example, you could trick yourself into thinking that writing is a form of procrastination, as opposed to a chore that you do each day.

5) JUST WRITE. As simple as it sounds, it’s a golden rule. Come rain or shine, you should get those words onto paper (or the computer screen). Don’t worry about the quality of the writing because you can tweak that later. Just get to the end of your first draft and then you can edit it, because you can’t edit a blank page, can you? Someone one told me that it’s better to have a shoddily written first draft than a perfectly polished first page. I totally agree, so write first and edit later! Write one word after another and eventually you will have a finished book.

I hope these tips are of use to people. Every writer is different, so you may find that one tip is more useful than others. Just go with what feels right… all of these tips have worked for me and hopefully they will work for you too. Happy writing =)

Writing and Spirituality

In this blog post, I will explore how writing and spirituality are linked.

Firstly though, I have great news… this last week, I have dived back into my second book with very positive results indeed! On average, I have been writing around 2000 words per day, which I am VERY happy with! If I stay on this trajectory, then the book should be finished in the next 2-3 weeks, meaning that the whole book will have taken six weeks to complete!

When I compare this to when I wrote my first book (which took eight months to write), then I can see that my writing prowess has definitely strengthened. I write much faster and more efficiently than I did last year, with consistent productivity too. This is due to a number of factors:

1) My self-confidence has shot through the roof. After writing one book, I believed that I could write another, and thus I am not hindered by doubts of my own abilities.

2) My knowledge of writing has improved. To learn how to write, you have to actually write, so writing my first book taught me some vital skills that have helped me the second time round.

3) I am more spiritual now, which has significantly boosted my productivity. I believe that this is the factor that has strengthened my writing the most, and I’ll go into more detail about this below.

I have been interested in spirituality for the last few years, but it is only over the last six months (since writing my first book) that it has become a way of life.  I now meditate on a daily basis, which helps to calm my mind and emotions – this makes me more focused on writing and removes the majority of mental blocks that used to permeate my writing days. When I wrote my first book, my productivity constantly fluctuated up and down, based on what mood I was in or how much concentration I had. But thanks to meditation, I now have little trouble with getting words onto the page.

If I get tired throughout the day, I simply have a little break and meditate. What this does is recharge the batteries and gives you a mental boost, which is most effective. If you think of the brain as a computer, then meditating is just a way to cool it down and stop it from overheating.

I highly recommend other writers to explore spirituality, as writing can be a very spiritual experience. When you are “in the zone” and words are spilling onto the page, it is almost as if you are channeling the words from somewhere else… sometimes you feel as though you are grasping inspiration from somewhere ethereal. Getting in touch with your spirituality can help to bolster you connection with “the zone”, so that you can effortlessly bring your work into this world.