5 Tips to Keep the Writing Verve

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Life has this way of hap­pen­ing whether we want it to or not, in ways that we often have no con­trol over.  No one can con­trol all aspects and by exten­sion all out­comes.  We can have the great­est desire to com­plete a project, but if some­thing gets in the way, then that is the way things must go down.  Right?

Well, maybe.

The most impor­tant thing to do is keep push­ing.  Keep think­ing about it.  Keep play­ing with poten­tial sce­nar­ios and keep going back to read what you’ve done so far to make sure that you keep your head in the game.

These are some of the devices that I use to reen­gage when I feel like I’ve got­ten off track with a writ­ing project:

The First Draft

mpclemens via Comp­fight

  1. RSS Feed —  I’m sub­scribed to the web­sites and blogs of peo­ple I find inter­est­ing and not all of them write about writ­ing.  It’s just as impor­tant to keep your head in the game as it is to redi­rect.  Because my cur­rent genre of choice is SFF, I’m sub­scribed to sites that cov­er top­ics such as sci­ence and sci­ence fic­tion, psy­chol­o­gy, health, writ­ing, cur­rent news events, and pol­i­tics.
  2. Talk it out — You don’t have to talk to anoth­er author, just some­one who is inter­est­ed in your sto­ry.  Why?  When you relate the progress of your sto­ry, this may prompt your patient­ly lis­ten­ing friend to ask ques­tions.  Ques­tions breed new ideas.
  3. Pic­tures — Pic­tures are inspi­ra­tional as you may know if you’ve been fol­low­ing Sallie’s blog here.  Pic­tures are sto­ries and they don’t say the same things to every­one.  Spend five min­utes gaz­ing at a pic­ture that has caught your fan­cy.  Write a poem, write a drab­ble, write a six sen­tence sto­ry.  Just write.  Pic­tures are like set­ting your imag­i­na­tion over an open flame…it makes every­thing boil.
  4. Reread — Each time I reread any one of my WIP, I find some lit­tle tid­bit that could do with enhanc­ing or edit­ing.  Some­times the best progress you can make in a sto­ry is by mov­ing back­wards.
  5. Music — No head bang­ing or dance tunes please…at least not for me.  Music is inspi­ra­tional and like pic­tures can whet the cre­ative appetite.  I’ve come upon some of my best writ­ing music while watch­ing ani­me and movies.  I find that instru­men­tals work best for me.  I like writ­ing action and intrigue to the OST of Rid­dick and more somber scenes to the OST of Book of Eli.  I also like Radiohead’s new­er stuff.  Freeplaymusic.com offers music of all types for free down­load and usage.  I like their ambi­ent sec­tion.

The most impor­tant thing one can do for their art is to keep pro­duc­ing but it is impor­tant to have a clear def­i­n­i­tion of what that means.  Pro­duc­ing for us writ­ers doesn’t always require actu­al­ly putting the words down.  The time we spend in our heads talk­ing and more impor­tant­ly lis­ten­ing to our char­ac­ters is price­less to our craft.

What tech­niques do you use to keep the writ­ing verve?

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(Orig­i­nal­ly guest-post­ed 08/2012 at http://yesterdaydaugher.blogspot.com/2012/08/5-tips-to-keep-writing-verve-by.html)