No Excuses

A Pen In Each Hand

By Beaver

You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but if you don’t write them down, who’s going to know? Often the hardest part of writing is simply finding the time. Sit down with your weekly schedule and figure out when you can realistically fit writing in. It may mean giving up something else, but if you’re serious about finding the time to write, you can do it. Once you have your writing time scheduled, those appointments should be as unbreakable as work, school, or dentist appointments. A good rule of thumb: if your excuse isn’t good enough for you to miss work, it’s not good enough for you to skip writing.

Starting to write…

A Pen In Each Hand

By Baker

Create a folder on your computer titled “writing notebook” or find a notebook to write in, like a spiral-bound single subject notebook or a steno pad. When you have an idea for a story, poem, blog entry, etc. make yourself a note. Later, when you are in the mood to write but have no inspiration, pull something from your writing notebook.

…poetry. Find an object in your writing space (your home, a park, etc.) and write down ten nouns (people, places, things or ideas/concepts) that come to mind when you view the object. Write down ten verbs (action words) that pop up when you touch the object.

…fiction. Open a magazine and note the first word that jumps out at you. Write that word in the center of a blank sheet of paper and circle it. What’s the first word that comes to mind after reading your center word? Write it and circle it, connecting it to the first word with a line. Don’t worry if the association makes no sense; that can make the exercise more interesting! Continue doing the word association until you run dry (or run out of room). If you get stuck, go back to the center word and start a new set of associations. When you are finished, draw a large circle around a section of words and write a story using as many of them as you can.

…non-fiction. Magazines are full of articles like “10 Diet Tips for the New Year” or “Five Ways To Make Him Blush.” Make a list of a dozen pieces of advice you would tell the “you” of ten years ago, like “buy a savings bond” or “ask your co-worker out for coffee.” Save this list in your writing notebook and use them for article ideas. For example, if you said, “Buy a savings bond,” why? Did something specific happen or did it just sound like a good idea? Expand just a little on your reasoning behind each piece of advice and before long, you’ll have an article-length piece!

…a weblog. How about keeping a “writing blog?” You could share your triumphs and your setbacks and get some writing done at the same time. Don’t forget a link to Toasted Cheese!