There’s a lot of advice I would give to a writer who asked, and I’ve touched on most of it before. Read. Read outside your genre. Read non-fiction. Observe. Write. Finish what you write. Finish first, edit second. Schedule writing times. All of these have really helped me. Outlining has also helped me tremendously, but that’s not something that all writers can embrace.
Here’s something else. Sleep.
Writers are a lot like babies in many ways. One of those ways is that we both function better after a good night’s sleep.
Now this is one piece of advice that has become a “do as I say, not as I do” thing. By the time I get my kids to bed and do my chores around the house, I have maybe an hour or 45 minutes to do my own thing. If I want to read, catch up on current affairs, watch a movie, anything at all other than write, I have no time for writing.
So what happens? I sit down and to unwind, I start reading articles from my RSS feeds. Then, suddenly, it’s after my bed time. But, but . . . I still want to do something! I still haven’t finished this article!
Yeah, so I am constantly tired. Coffee helps during the day, but at night, after 8 PM, there’s no way I can consume coffee and expect to get to sleep before midnight, so there I sit, forcing myself to write this or write that, and it is crap because I am not creative. I can’t even force myself to be creative because my brain is so fried.
If you want to write, and write well, add “sleep” to your list of “necessaries.” You will be more creative when you are well rested, and that means more productive.
Now, I think I need to take a nap. Excuse me while I hide under my desk.