By Kathy Harris
Did you charge out of the starting blocks with the first three chapters of a great new story idea… but now you’re having trouble crossing the finish line? Does your first draft sag in the middle? Maybe your plot needs a bit of firming up.
You might benefit from a new writing routine.
Fitness coaches tell us that-if we want to tone and build our muscles-we should vary our workouts. So why shouldn’t we do the same for our writing muscles?
Here are a few suggestions:
If you’re a morning writer, try reworking your to-do list and squeeze in time to write at lunch. Or maybe you’re a night owl who has been pushing the limits of your late night energy. Go to bed early for a week, and set your alarm clock early. There may be a morning writer in you just waiting to be awakened. I would never have believed this was true for me until I tried it!
Physical cardio can be accomplished in three ten-minute sessions a day. Our writing can be accomplished in short bursts as well. Use downtime, when sitting at the doctor’s office or in traffic, to brainstorm a plot point. Always keep a pen and paper or Smartphone handy to jot notes, journal, or flesh out characters while people-watching at the mall or waiting to pick your child up at school.
There’s a time and a place for a “marathon.” But running one every day isn’t practical-or even healthy. Take a break from writing now and then to read, study the craft, or give back by mentoring another writer or reviewing the work of someone in your critique group or your crit partner. It will strengthen you as a writer.
So will soliciting help from a freelance editor or writing coach-the writer’s equivalent of a personal trainer-who can push you beyond your expectations. On her blog, Writing Coach Tiffany Coulter encourages her clients to ‘reach for the impossible, while still setting realistic goals.’
Set a writing pace that’s comfortable for you and vary it occasionally to fight fatigue. Even sprint once in a while and feel the burn.
Now, breathe deeply. Relax. And remember why you started writing in the first place…because you love it.
Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment industry. She blogs regularly at www.DivineDetour.com. Her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, will be released by Abingdon Press in September 2012.