Tips & Ideas

Become a Disciplined Writer

journalingTips provided by Courtney Cope

1 – Read

This may seem counterproductive, but you cannot be a good writer if you are not a good reader.  You must read as much as you can, in all genres, things you like and things you don’t like.  Bad writing and good writing.  Fiction and non-fiction.  Start a reading habit if you do not have one already.  Like artists who study and emulate the greats to perfect their own craft, reading will aid you when you finally sit down to write.

2 – Write Every Day

You must set aside time to write every single day.  It doesn’t have to be a long block of time–even if it’s only a few minutes at first, even if you only manage a few sentences, that is better than nothing at all.  I personally set aside an hour and a half to two hours a day.  Think of writing like a muscle–it cannot grow and improve if you don’t exercise it.  It will atrophy.  Set aside a certain time of day that is your writing time (short or long), and get rid of all distractions (disable your internet if you have to).  Tell people not to bother you.  Set a timer.  Then just write

3 – Don’t Censor Yourself

Never censor yourself during a first draft.  Write whatever comes to you, however it comes to you.  Yes, the writing may sound stupid at first, but that is what editing and revising is for, and you can tighten things up on the next go round (I never let anyone near my first drafts).  You must allow all the bad to get out before you can harvest the good.  Sometimes there is stuff lurking in your mind that won’t come free if you think too hard about it, if you let it get stuck between your mind and the page.  And that stuff is usually the best.  Trust your subconscious.

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