Work On Your Weaknesses.

When people go to a gym they generally use the weights or equipment that they are most competent with.

They use the running machine because that’s comfortable for them.

They lift the weights which they can do the most reps with, or move the heaviest weight.

Writers are no different.

We turn up and immediately head for the areas we are most familiar with, the most comfortable, those areas we find the easiest to produce in.

A gym is a training place. It isn’t the actual place where you do the physical activity.

The gym is where you train your body to be the strongest it can be to do the activity you want to do.

Writers need to produce. That is the activity.

The training is where you sweat and heave and gasp. Where you condition yourself to meet the challenge of the activity.

When you train, when you practice writing, you shouldn’t be heading for the areas you can do easily or look the best doing.

When you practice, you should train the weak areas first.

Maybe you need to work on dialogue, or location description, or plotting.

Whatever it is, work on your weaknesses first.

The Healthy Writer’s Lifestyle.

The secret to a healthy lifestyle can be summed up in three things:

  1. Quality Sleep
  2. Healthy Diet
  3. Physical Activity

All of these are important to a writer, obviously.

But what makes for a healthy writing lifestyle?

How about,

  1. Quality Thinking
  2. Healthy Reading (or Watching if you are working on tv/film)
  3. Physical Writing

Let’s break these down a little more.

Quality Thinking.

As a writer you need the time and space to engage with your ideas, your plots, and your characters. Sudden inspiration does happen, but only after you have mused and pondered and contested with the problem.

Sherlock Holmes never wandered the hills gazing at the clouds hoping for a bird or a leaf to suddenly solve the case for him, he hid himself away with the curtains drawn and paced the floor using his intellect to crack the case.

Sometimes you can schedule in chunks of deliberate thinking time, but for most of us we have to work on one job whilst are minds are elsewhere. Use the commute, the  shopping run, the cooking time, the brushing your teeth time, to focus on what you are writing and gain clarity of purpose and intention.

Your setting, your characterisation, your plot structure, all need your attention. So give them quality thinking time.

Healthy Reading.

Read because you enjoy reading, as your readers will enjoy what you have written.

Your writing will get better with your reading. The techniques of description and dialogue, the scene setting and the plot twists, will rub off.

And apart from additional lessons in the craft from your favourite authors, you need to scope out the competition and see what they are up to.

Also, make the effort to read books which are not normally your ‘type’. Breaking the habit of what you are familiar with will result in gains in unexpected ways.

Physical Writing.

You are a writer. So write.

Flex those muscles and hammer the words out on the page. Do the reps and the growth will come.

The combination of Quality Thinking and Healthy Reading will provide you with the tolls to get what you want.

Chase that rabbit down the hole and don’t give up until the tale is told. Have tenacity and perseverance.

The more you write, the easier the production will become. When that happens, push past it until it hurts again.

Think. Read. Write. Repeat. For a healthy writer’s lifestyle.

Five People

There is a saying – I don’t know where it originates – but there is a saying that you are a reflection of your five closest friends.

If that is true then I should be at least a foot taller and a few pounds heavier – no offence to my friends but I am the shortest by far!

How about you? How are you a reflection of you closest friends?

But also, how are you a reflection of your five closest writers? Your favourite authors? The five writers that you always pre-order or are waiting outside your local bookshop to open for?

How does their descriptive style influence you?

Or their dialogue influence you?

Or their plotting?

Grab those five authors now and check out what you owe to them or the lessons you are missing from them.