17 November, 2022
Get Writing: Tips to Kickstart Your Practice
With writing, as with most things in life, getting started is the really difficult part. Progress comes slow at first and sometimes there can be nothing worse than having to drag yourself to your desk to sit down and write. Here are some tips to help kickstart your practice and to keep you working when the going gets rough!
- Make time for writing
Lots of people want to write but nobody’s got the time! Right? Nope. Part of the reason nobody thinks they have the time to write is the false notion that it takes hours upon hours of trawling over your manuscript to get any useful work done. But just ask any of those famous writers who are also full time parents, or those published authors who still managed to keep up a day job. If Toni Morrison and Flann O’Brien did it, so can you! Learn to squirrel away ten minutes here and half an hour there and the amount of time you actually spend writing will start adding up and soon so will the pages!
- Join a writing group
Writing can be a lonely gig and without people reading your work before you publish, how are you ever going to edit it and make sure the wide world of readers out there is picking up what you’re putting down? A writing group is perfect to workshop new material but also just to keep you engaged. They’re fun, collaborative spaces where you can get instant feedback from other people just as interested and engaged as you are. You can find a list of some writing groups based in Ireland here on our website.
- Read! Read Read!
You hear it all the time. If you want to be the best then you have to read the best. Reading other people’s work sharpens your prose, sparks ideas and equips you with an unending supply of tricks and tropes to use in your own writing. It’s best to read widely to broaden your influence. Some books might teach you more than others but the main thing is just to keep reading! If you’re finding it difficult to get lots of reading done or if you’ve fallen out of love with it, start simple. Maybe go back to those YA novels you loved so much as a teenager. Why not try some fantasy or sci-fi or a sports biography? It doesn’t have to be Dostoevsky!
- Go easy on yourself.
This thing we do is difficult. Try not to compare yourself to other writers that you know and whatever you do, don’t google the ages of your favourite authors! Make sure to keep the work fun and playful and if you need to take a break then take a break. Sometimes a change is as good as a break and there’s lots of ways to switch things up if you ever feel the need. Try out some poetry if you usually only write prose or maybe incorporate something like the pomodoro technique where you work to a timer in short, intense bursts.
- Take a writing course
Writing courses are wonderful ways of shaking up your practice and helping you to discover entirely new approaches. Whether it’s a course on a new form or genre that you’ve never really experimented with before, or if it’s something within your wheelhouse, the attention of an experienced course facilitator and the creative environment of a workshop space can only help you to improve. Why not take a look at some of our winter courses that we’ve just made available over on the courses section of our website.