8 things that get it in the way of our writing (and what to do about them)

start writing nowAs a writer, and a creative writing teacher, I work with lots of writers who desperately want to write but life constantly gets in the way. This week’s blog post brings these reasons together and looks at possible solutions. For each ‘reason,’ I will suggest three ideas.

Reason One: The day job. Having to work full time.

• Perhaps you could find time to write on the commute if by public transport. (or listen to an audiobook if driving.)
• Carve out 20 to 30 minutes at lunchtime.
• Or ‘ringfence’ a couple of hours at the weekend. Treat this time with the same importance as you would any other appointment.

Reason Two: The ‘who will want to read this?’ worry.

• Remember that all writers suffer this – even J K Rowling.
• Most writing starts out as a mediocre or even terrible first draft. However, this first draft needs to exist in order for there to be something to improve.
• Writing is a skill that can only be developed and honed.

Reason Three: Not getting any peace and quiet at home.

• Getting up a little earlier each morning when the house is still quiet.
• Substituting a late-night TV programme for writing time.
• ‘Escaping’ to the library or a quiet corner of a coffee shop.

Reason Four: Not having a ‘room’ in which to write.

• Finding a ‘corner’ of the house for a desk and the computer. Perhaps in front of a window or putting a special picture or object in that will inspire you to write.
• Driving somewhere scenic where you can park up and write in peace.
• Converting a shed, space under the stairs or attic space.

Reason Five: Being unsure what to write about.

• Ideas are everywhere. Carry a notebook around with you to gather overheard conversations, interesting characters and inspiring scenes.
• Try free writing, known as ‘stream of consciousness’ and see where your pen takes you. It can help to start with a particular subject (e.g. a journey) or an emotion (e.g. jealousy)
• Start with your own life story or anecdotes from it – often our own stories need to come out before we can start writing fiction.

Reason Six: Lacking in confidence in getting started.

• Remember that all writers have to start somewhere. All were beginners at some stage. Give it a go. There is no such thing as ‘getting it wrong’ and the craft of writing is something you can only get better at.
• There is a wealth of information online and books on skill development as a writer.
• You could join a writer’s group or take a course. See my webpage https://mariastephenson.com/creative-writing-courses/ to see what I offer.

Reason Seven: Worrying about ‘what others will think.’

• To try something new takes courage. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
• It’s more likely that people around you will be proud of you for giving a new activity a try.
• It could be to do with the actual ‘content.’ Of ‘giving secrets away.’ Remember you can change names and situations or write under a pen name. And initially, you can choose who you show your writing to.

Reason Eight: A belief that you’re ‘not creative or imaginative enough.’

• Everyone can be creative, given the right materials, stimulus and environment. All that is needed is the willingness to give it a go.
• Think back to your childhood. Tap into the imagination you had then, and the enjoyment you gained from making things.
• Try. Lots of writers and other artists don’t realise the imagination and creativity they possess. Until they try.

Do you have a different reason to the ones listed above? Or a tried and tested strategy for ‘getting on with it?’

Drop me a line or comment below.

Alternatively click here to find out about the three day writing retreat I'm co-hosting in February for writers who are either 'learning or returning.'

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