If you’ve got friends who work in the publishing industry, you’re probably aware that the pandemic has been the creative boost many amateur writers needed. Ultimately, it’s easy to understand why so many people have started to write during the pandemic. While unemployment levels rising through the roof, furlough, home office relocations, and the loss of our social routines, most of us have finally found the time we needed to work on a manuscript. While things are slowly getting back to normal, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon yet. After all, if you are still working from home, you can still make time to write a mesmerizing novel.
What does it take to become a real writer? It’s a tough question and one that can be intimidating. I’m not Stephen King or Patricia McCormick, you think. True. but you have your own voice and your own story to tell. Neither Stephen King nor Patricia McCormick was born a writer. They learned their skill with time and practice. And that’s precisely why taking the time to create your novel now is the best thing you can do to make your dream come true.
Every writer needs a healthy workstation
Just like every desk-focused activity, writing requires comfort. You can’t expect to hit your word target, perched on the sofa with the laptop balancing precariously on your knees. You need to create a writing station that supports your body. Indeed, when you already spend the whole day sitting at your desk, becoming a writer in your spare time increases the number of hours sitting. Prolonged sitting affects your muscle health. So you want to include frequent breaks during the day. But you also want to make necessary additions to your home office setup. An ergonomic office chair can help tackle poor posture habits and reduce soreness in your lower back, neck, and shoulders. Additionally, you also want to ensure your desk height is right for you, as it can accentuate wrist pain when using a keyboard, neck pain if you need to bend forward. Your comfort will influence how much you can write.
Temperature is a game-changer
Here’s one crucial biology lesson for anyone who’s trying to establish themselves as a creative. Your brain needs energy. It seems like an obvious thing to say. Yet, most of us tend to ignore the implications of energy deprivation. A cold home office, for instance, will drive the blood away from your brain as the body regulates its temperature. Does being cold make you less creative as a writer? The answer is yes. Being cold means that the brain receives less blood flow; therefore, you can find it more challenging to have new ideas. Your priority as a writer is to set a comfortable space that gives you the energy to create. If the home office is cold, it could be a sign it’s time to replace your window with professional services such as window renewal by Andersen, for instance. Does the heating system or the HVAC fail to keep you warm? It could be time to service it. Similarly, don’t be afraid to invest in a cozy cardigan to work from home.
Superstition goes a long way
Being superstitious is all about finding a deeper meaning in everything that surrounds you. You may not believe in bad luck when you see a black cat or throw salt above your shoulder to cancel unfortunate events. But perhaps, you have a lucky sweater or a favorite mug. Simple things such as drinking coffee in your favorite mug can help put you at ease. Does a writer have to be superstitious to be successful? Of course not. But surrounding yourself with things that motivate you and keep you positive can be a game-changer. So, if you have such a thing as a lucky mug, a pair of lucky house slippers, or a good luck pen, there’s nothing wrong with keeping these around you. Nobody knows if luck exists, but one thing is for sure. You’re more likely to find out if you already believe in yours.
Don’t be afraid to share
You’ve got a fantastic story to tell. But it’s a lot easier to write for yourself than to write for others. Every writer struggles to allow someone else to read their writing. No story is complete until it has a reader, even though it can be intimidating. However, it’s important to learn to feel comfortable about sharing your story. For a start, it’s the easiest and quickest way to receive feedback on your writing. Unfortunately, not all feedback will be positive, but you can protect yourself by starting with acquaintances and people who like you. You might find the thought of letting strangers read your intimate story more relaxing, which is precisely why online writing communities are so popular. Most people will be supportive and give you the encouragement you need to progress. Be open to criticism, as it can offer precious tips to improve your writing.
Surround yourself with things that inspire you
What does a writer’s room look like? If you search online for ideas, you’ll soon spot photos of Stephen King’s, Susan Sontag’s, Jodi Picoult’s, Roald Dahl’s, and Mark Twain’s offices. Each is an individual representation of the writer’s personality. But they all share common traits. All surround themselves with inspiring objects, images, and visuals. Paintings, books of your favorite authors, or even souvenirs from your latest holiday are some of the typical elements you can find inside a writer’s den. There is no rule as to what is acceptable in terms of inspiration. Some writers enjoy silence and the sound of nature, such as George Bernard Shaw, who wrote in a simplistic decor. Others need the buzz of activity — J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter inside a coffee shop for that reason!
Kill your darlings
Regardless of your writing experience, kill your darling is one of the most commonly heard pieces of advice. There’s a reason for it: Your darlings are most likely slowing down your writing progression. Who are your darlings? Every writer has theirs. For some, it could be long and unnecessary sentences. For others, it’s a fictional character that doesn’t bring anything to the story. Editing both your writing and your ideas will mean sacrificing some of your favorite elements for the greater good. It’s a tough call, but it’s part of the journey as a writer. You are both a creator and a destroyer.
Invest in tools that make a difference
Jane Austen only needed some paper, a quill, and a bottle of ink. However, it’s the 21st century, and you are no Jane Austen. You deserve to use tools that are specifically designed to make your writer’s life easier. If you struggle to keep up with your ideas in a typical word processing solution, you may want something such as Scrivener. It is a tool that is specifically designed for writers, making it easy to structure texts, ideas, and chapters. You can grow your manuscript in a way that suits your inspiration and approach without worrying about where a great idea fits. You can bring things together at a later point.
Another helpful tool is Grammarly Premium, as it’s a great check on your grammar, spelling, and overall sentence clarity. It doesn’t replace proofreading your manuscript yourself, but it can make corrections easier.
A reliable keyboard, secure storage devices, and a Trello board to map up your ideas should also be on your list!
What makes an amateur scribbler into a professional writer? Time, dedication, and effort. All these things are available to you. As Stephen King once said, you have to practice writing to become a writer. So, starting from fresh right now is no hindrance to your progression. On the contrary, set up your writing’s spot and routine to make sure you can maintain the habit.