In case you missed it, our 2016 Short Fiction Contest deadline has been extended to February 1st, so I figured a writing prompt for fiction would be appropriate. Often, I find it’s not a lack of ideas that I’m experiencing, but a lack of discipline. This writing prompt is about planning and facilitating your writing process.
- Make a daily goal. Something achievable. If you think you’re going to write five pages a day, but you usually only write two, stick to two. What’s most important is acknowledging your limitations and working with your strengths. Two pages over seven days is a healthy length for an entry to our Short Fiction Contest. Just saying.
- Write every day. Allot, at the very least, an hour a day to writing. What time of day do you feel most creative? I’m not going to advocate for you to get up an hour earlier every day, because it might end up being a frustrating process. You need sleep to write well, though I’m sure many 2am writers will disagree. That twenty minutes you spend catching up on all the social media posts you’ve missed while asleep can easily be replaced with writing.
- Find space. If you don’t already have a space dedicated to writing, find it. Find it now. I write at a coffee shop, because I can easily tune out noise, and my dining table that I’ve converted into a writing desk. I used to write on my bed and then wondered why I wasn’t getting much done. Beds are for relaxing. Writing isn’t exactly a relaxing process.
- Adjust your goal (and your attitude). If you find that for three days in a row you’ve only written a page a day, change your goal to reflect that. Maybe the story doesn’t need to be fourteen pages, but only ten or seven. If you find that you wrote one page today and three tomorrow, no worries. You’re still averaging two pages a day.
- Use your time wisely. If you find that you can genuinely not write anything, try to edit what you have written. You’ll still be progressing the story along and might find that you’re adding bits of dialogue here and more sentences there. It’s all moving towards your goal of crafting this story (for our Short Fiction Contest, of course).
Hopefully these five steps will help your process and get you back in the writing saddle.