Writing Discipline

Writing can be great fun – and so it should be – but sometimes you will, alas, need just a little bit of discipline…

  • Read your work aloud to yourself, and cut any unnecessary words. It is a good idea to do this at the end of each paragraph, or section, or chapter – however much you write in a ‘session’; everyone is different. Review your draft after you have just completed it, and when you are still in that particular ‘zone’, but also read it to yourself when you’ve gained some distance, so that you can see and hear it objectively. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary. Helen Dunmore advises to ‘listen to what you have written’, and it’s true. Words should be your craft, as a writer, so don’t let them become obstacles to the story itself.
  • Remove distractions. If you are sitting down to write, ban those things that you know will be counter-productive – the internet, your phone, that packet of chocolate digestives on the counter. Avoid them, or at least limit them.
  • Select some older pieces of writing and try editing them. Not only is it likely that you will notice the difference between this and your current writing, but it is very good practice in editing and critiquing work without offending anybody. You will also be able to identify common mistakes or habits that you may or may not have ironed out yet.

Swing by next week for another little Update on our authors and books! If there are any particular aspects of writing you’d like advice on then just post a Comment and we’ll get on it.

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