3 Things You Should Be Doing (Are YOU?)

There are many things that we, as writers, can do to improve our writing. Unlike many professions, ours is one that changes in dynamic and criterion. So, in order to be a top-notch writer, we need to actively be improving. There are many things you can do to improve including going to lectures, taking classes, attending conventions, etc., but these three things, you can (and should) do every day.

Write Every Day

It is imperative to write every day. Why? Because it stimulates your brain and gets your creative juices flowing. It is always a good habit to have. I’ve found that when I devote some of my time to writing, I hit writer’s block less often. If you’re at a loss at how you can write every day, there are several things you can do:

  • Blog–blogging is a great way to write every day. You can make a blog about virtually anything. A good tip is to make a blog about something that you’re passionate about so that you don’t get bored with it. 
  • Journal–I keep a journal for all of the adventures I go on. Whenever I travel, whenever I eat new foods, and whenever I do something I’ve never done before, I jot it down in my journal so that I can use my experiences in my writing.
  • Work on a project–I always keep a project open to work on be it a manuscript or a new idea or an outline.

You can do any of the above, just as long as you make sure that you write every day. It also helps to set aside a time to write in which you will not be disturbed. The amount of time that you write is up to you. Some writers suggest 2 hours, some say increments of 10 minutes at a time–I honestly prefer setting aside at least 2 hours that are devoted to writing. And, no, Facebook conversations don’t count.

Read Every Day

In order to stay on top of your writing, it’s a good idea to read every day. Not only is it fun, but reading expands your mental horizons and can give you an idea of where to begin. For example, if you’re thinking about writing a science fiction piece, pick up a science fiction novel or short story. Are you trying to figure out how to write a mystery novel? Grab one and read it. Wondering how characters would react to a certain character? Examine how other writers have written the interactions in their works.

Just be sure that you aren’t taking ideas from others. That’s a literary no-no. The purpose of writing every day isn’t to rip off other’s works but only to keep ideas flowing through your minds that you can adapt to fit into your own writing.

Connect

An easy way for people to follow along with your writing journey is to connect with the cyber world. Now-a-days, nearly everyone has a Facebook or Twitter. Posts, ideas, stories, and much more are shared all across social networks. Here are some examples that you can do to utilize these opportunities and stay with the times:

  • Set up a Facebook page for your writing. Be it a page of you as an author or a page dedicated to your blog; it’s up to you. I have a Facebook page for my blog, and my blog only, but I know a lot of writers who have set up pages for themselves to promote their writings. 
  • Set up a Twitter account. As many of you know, Twitter is a nice way to connect to other writers and to share your latest writings.
  • Sign up with Google+. Since Google+ is one of the newest social media sites, not many people really understand it. I like to think of it like this: You use Facebook to connect with people you know and use Google+ to connect with those you don’t know but would like to. It’s pretty useful to add people to different circles, and you can join communities that share the same interests as you. I’ve heard from many writers that they’ve actually been given freelance jobs because they contacted other writers and publications that were on Google+ (and trust me–there are a lot).
  • Get a LinkedIn account. It’s free, and it’s professional. This is where you can make connections with others in your profession. It can help you get connected with those that you need to such as publishers and agents. Think of it like a modern-day Rolodex. You can keep the contact information of job sources and agents on one nice, professional site.

There are many other options to connect to the cyber world, but these are a few of the most popular. The purpose of having them, however, isn’t to spam your followers with just your works and inquiries. This is how you connect with others and make bonds with them. Make friendships. Get connected. They will help you with your writing if you just ask, but you have to get to know them first.

Since social media tends to have an addictive quality to it, I suggest limiting your time on the sites. Give yourself no more than 30 minutes updating your statuses and connecting with others, because it’s easy to stay connected all day and neglect the other two things you should be doing: reading and writing.

(See my About the Author page if you’re interested in connecting with me.)

Thanks for reading!

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Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “3 Things You Should Be Doing (Are YOU?)

  1. Good post. I’ve had a Google+ account for some time now and have yet to figure out what to do with it. I’ll look into writing communities on there. Maybe that will give me the push I need.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I got my Google+ account a month or so ago, so I know how you feel. Usually, I will link my blog in my updates, but one cool thing about Google+ is that if you have a question about writing or freelancing (or anything, really) just post the question to a group that it pertains to (such as a freelance question to a freelance group, etc.) People are usually really friendly and will give you advice regarding jobs and such. Hope this helps!

  2. My Google+ account just sits there with the occasional tumbleweed blowing through (in spite of the fact that I’ve had it since way-back-when). I should take another look. 🙂

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  4. These are really good tips. I have such a hard time following them! Writing for school gets in the way so much that I don’t have as much time as I would like to write for fun but I need to just make time. I don’t read or write as much as I used to but that is mostly my fault. These are good tips that people really need to try hard to remember.

    • School does tend to get in the way most of the time, but I like to at least try and take my weekends to read and write if the school week is too packed. Good thing summer is just around the corner! Even if we all get jobs, we could at least read and write in our free time/off days 😀

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  6. Your tips are dead on. When my freelance career started picking up, I put writing my blog as something extra if I had time. I felt that it was a bonus because I loved writing so much. It took me a while to realize that writing just to write is a vital part of having a successful writing career. It was a strange realization when I became aware that what I should be doing the most is what I love the most.

  7. I really enjoyed this post Lindi. You seem to have a really good grasp on how to literally make yourself write. I know that I get so distracted with school and especially the Internet. I have to admit that I don’t have a Google+ account or LinkedIn account. Should I consider getting either of them?

    • I would recommend a Google+ because it’s a nice way to get feedback on your work from peers who are in the same profession. Linked in is a nice way to stay on top of job opportunities from companies you follow, but it isn’t really fashioned for freelance writers. I have one and follow magazine corporations, but the job listings they give are for permanent offices and not freelance opportunities.

  8. J.M. Dahl

    Lindi, your blog is spectacular! Somehow I missed following you all semester and am rather disappointed. You have so much great writing advice. Looks like I have a good start for summer reading!

  9. I regret that I am doing none of these things, particularly this semester. Although Dr Briley likewise suggested that we manage our time to replace other time-drains with writing, I have not managed to do that this semester. Sometimes it’s just hard to find what to cut out (besides sleep). I really want to set a goal of accomplishing these three things at least 3 times a week over the summer. As for the connect portion, I’m looking forward to taking an e-marketing class which will hopefully help me market myself more as a writor. Great advice, thank you!

    • I hope your class is fun, and good luck with your writing! 🙂 I’ll admit: the only reason why I managed to do these 3 things was because they were a key part of my procrastination for class assignments hahaha!

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