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Writing Hacks for the Weary Author

As fun as writing is, it can be wearying at times. Sometimes it’s the little things that trip us up – like a vacation in the middle of a busy writing month, sickness that steals our inspiration, or even something as simple as getting stuck at the beginning of a chapter.

Writing hacks are helpful. Writing hacks should be shared by every writer everywhere, because we’re all in the same trenches and while one thing may not work for everyone, you never know when it will help someone! Here are some small tips to help keep that momentum going:

1. Leave Off in the Middle of Something

This was something my critique partner taught me. If you’re on a roll and finish a chapter, don’t stop there! Ride the wave into the first paragraph or two of the next chapter. Some writers even like to end their session mid-dialogue. This can help you pick up right where you left off next time without having to stumble through setting the tone/mood at the beginning of the chapter.

2. Turn off the WiFi

This isn’t as much a struggle for some as others, but I know many writers who find themselves frequently lost in the rabbit warren of social media during their few precious drafting sessions. Try turning off your WiFi during a writing session (or, if you fear you’ll be tempted to switch it back on, even unplug the router itself so you’d have to get up to turn it back on). Disconnecting from the outside world can help zero your focus in on what has to be done (alternately, if you tend to hound social media on your phone like I do, plug it in somewhere else and walk away).

3. Bracket Notes

A much-simplified form of outlining, bracket notes are an alternative or even addition to Point 1. If you know where to start your next chapter or if you have an idea of where a scene is going but don’t have the time/energy to continue, leave yourself a brief note in brackets. Don’t worry about getting the sound right, just get the idea down as clearly as possible. Your future self will thank you for the springboard into the next scene!

4. Rewards, Rewards, Rewards

Chances are you’ve heard this one before – but it seriously works! Whether it’s a delicious meal, tempting snack, or the next episode of Game of Thrones, rewards are a carrot we can dangle in front of ourselves to get that daily writing goal accomplished even if we feel totally weary. The key to this one is to put the reward far enough out of reach that you can’t just grab it and bypass the writing altogether (guilty as charged)!

5. Talk About Someone Else’s Writing

Funny as this one may seem, it’s really, really incredible how much a fellow writer’s enthusiasm can inspire our own. Instead of wallowing in the weariness of your own story, try grabbing a writer-buddy and engaging with them about THEIRS. Talk about what’s working for them and what isn’t. See if you can help them brainstorm. Oftentimes switching gears and approaching writing from a spectator angle can reignite your desire to get dirty up to the elbows in your own story again!

Got any tactics that help you when you’re feeling worn out with writing? Share them in the comments below!

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