That One Motivating Writing Tip

That One Motivating Writing Tip

Musings from the Pipeline with Jan Fix ~~I’m always looking for it. That one writing tip that will stick with me like glue, send me over the top to the finish line.

My least favorite tips but most often heard: Write for 20 minutes every morning.  Commit to 500 words a day.  Cut something out of your life to make time to write.  

I don’t know about you, but the regimens don’t work for me.  I must be inspired, moved, and lightly guided.  This article “Tweets from Pixar’s School of Plotting” in the Wall Street Journal’s Word Craft section recently really gave me some juice.

What I liked best about these 20 (yes 20!) suggestions is they offer good mental exercises to apply to what you’ve written or are about to write.  Things like:

4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally __.

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff, but it sets you free.

6. What are your characters good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

These are specific, thought-generating, MOTIVATING suggestions that can easily be applied to most any writing goal. While most are fiction-related, there are plenty that cross all boundaries and genres.

Now I’m off to work on #12 off the list, which sounds like a lot of fun:

12. Discount the first thing that comes to mind. And the second, third and fourth—get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

YES, SURPRISE YOURSELF. See you at the finish line!


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