Here, in no particular order, are some tips and advice, things I know I should do, but don’t necessarily follow. But isn’t that always the case?
1. Write every day. I work full time, so my “writing time” is limited to bits and spurts. Most of my daily writing is in my journal, in the morning while I’m having coffee, at lunch. At night, I try to update my blog or work a bit on whatever piece (or pieces) I have going. On weekends, I dedicate blocks of time, two to three hours on Saturday and Sunday, to working on my current projects. I write like I read: I have a couple of projects in the works at any given time. Mostly because I find it almost impossible to follow my next piece of advice.
2. Stifle that little voice in your head that says “that’s terrible!” and write whatever you are working on from beginning to end. I know, much easier said than done. I love Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird that says it’s fine to have a stinky first draft. I just wish my inner critic did. My muse has to be really impassioned to drown out the my inner critic, so I generally settle for keeping it quiet for short periods, either for a specific time period, like one hour, or a set amount of writing, so many pages or a chapter.
3. Read. Anything. Everything. I drive my husband (and probably the mailman) crazy with the all of the magazines I subscribe to, from cooking to decorating to writing to gossip, I read them cover to cover. Then there are the books. The local library loves the Hamilton family. Not only do we patronize them, but we also donate very gently used books to their shelves and book sales.
4. Find another creative outlet. I love photography and can spend hours wandering around taking photographs. Thank God for digital photography, because I could never afford to develop all of those pictures. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find your “other love.” I tried knitting, watercolor painting, and even belly dancing before realizing that photography gave me the sense of joy and accomplishment I was looking for. For me, finding that perfect shot is what takes me away from whatever writing obstacle is standing in my way and refreshes me – and my writing. You can see some of my photos at www.flickr.com/photos/blueridgeviews.
5. Celebrate your successes. When I was still living in Massachusetts, I belonged to a writer’s group. Whenever someone had a story or article accepted, they brought champagne to the next meeting. These days, I share with my friends on Facebook.
Follow Day 5 of Ms. Hamilton's tour tomorrow at www.suzannelieurance.com/blog. Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix - at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.