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How to Find the Right Template to Write a Document for Free
Writing documents can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Fortunately, there are many free templates available online that can help you get started. Here are some tips on how to find the right template to write a document for free.
The first step in finding the right template is to search online. There are many websites that offer free document templates, so it’s important to take some time to browse through them and find one that best suits your needs. When searching, make sure to look for templates that are easy to use and have all the features you need.
Check Out Professional Templates
If you’re looking for a more professional-looking template, then it’s worth checking out some of the paid options available online. Professional templates often come with more features and customization options than free ones, so they can be worth the investment if you need something more polished and professional-looking.
Look for User Reviews
Finally, it’s always a good idea to read user reviews before downloading any template. This will help you get an idea of how well the template works and if there are any issues or problems with it. Reading user reviews can also give you an insight into how easy or difficult it is to use the template, which can be helpful when trying to decide which one is right for you.
Finding the right template to write a document for free doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these tips, you should be able to find one that meets your needs and helps you create a professional-looking document quickly and easily.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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How to get better at writing daily: 10 methods
Actively learning how to get better at writing daily will greatly benefit your writing style and craft. Set aside as little as half an hour per day to add something new to your writing toolkit. Here are 10 easy tasks you can set yourself:
- Post author By Jordan
- 12 Comments on How to get better at writing daily: 10 methods
- Memorize five new synonyms
- Copy a paragraph by a great stylist from memory
- Read a good grammar and punctuation guide
- Rewrite a scene from a favorite movie or TV show
- Review feedback on your writing
- Practice condensing overwrought sentences
- Structure your writing better
- Write an entry in your journal
- Rewrite a scene three ways
- Do something worth writing about
Here is why each of the above tasks can help you become a better writer (you don’t have to do each task every day: Aim for at least one or two):
1. Memorize five new synonyms
If you want to become a great writer, the broader your vocabulary, the better. It’s important to remember, however, that just because you know six-syllable words, you don’t have to use them in every sentence. Yet synonyms – words that have the same or similar meanings to each other (but often subtly different connotations or associations) – are a crucial part of your writer’s toolkit.
Adding synonyms to your vocabulary is like a painter adding new hues to their palette. You could write in primary colours, but sometimes a precise shade is exactly what you need to bring everything together.
Look up five synonyms for a word and memorize them. Google their etymology (origins). The Latin and other roots of words often contain connotations or subtle meanings that have carried over into current English. For example, a synonym for ‘disappear’ is ‘vanish’ . Vanish is derived from Middle English which in turn is derived from the Latin word evanescere which means ‘to die away’. This morbid connotation makes the word ‘vanish’ excellent for describing an ominous disappearance such as a kidnapping or other unsettling disappearance, since possible death is implicit in the word at the root. Disappear, by contrast, comes from the Latin apparere (via Old French), and this meant to ‘appear, come in sight, make an appearance’. By comparing, you can see that vanish carries a stronger, more complete (and irretrievable) sense of no longer being in sight than the word disappear.
2. Copy a paragraph by a great stylist from memory
Literary Devices defines writing style as follows:
‘The style in writing can be defined as the way a writer writes and it is the technique which an individual author uses in his writing. It varies from author to author and depends upon one’s syntax, word choice, and tone.’
Great stylists are writers who please us with good syntax, effective word choice and appealing tone. Their writing has satisfying rhythm, emotional connection and clarity. To get better at writing every day, copy a paragraph from an esteemed writer. For example, you might copy this paragraph by Nobel-winning short story author Alice Munro:
My mother’s dress was not homemade. It was her best, too elegant for church and too festive for a funeral, and so hardly ever worn. It was made of black velvet, with sleeves to the elbows, and a high neckline. The wonderful thing about it was a proliferation of tiny beads, gold and silver and various colors, sewn all over the bodice and catching the light, changing whenever she moved or only breathed.
Munro’s paragraph is worth copying for many reasons: The beautiful description of the dress, the way Munro varies sentence length and the way the protagonist’s private impressions are shown and contrasted with how her mother’s dress appears to others publicly. It is complex and rich.
Simply copying out a paragraph word for word will help you see the inner workings of sentence structure and description closer.
3. Read a good grammar and punctuation guide
No discussion of how to get better at writing would be complete without grammar and punctuation. The nuts and bolts of language are what hold your story together.
Commit to read a section of a grammar and punctuation guide per day. You can find a good grammar guide at Capital Community College’s website here.
For example, on the ‘adjectives’ page there is a description of adjectival clauses. These are parts of sentences where a group of words that contains a subject and a verb acts as an adjective. The example the guide gives is ‘My sister, who is much older than I am, is an engineer’. The ‘who is much older than I am’ is an adjectival clause. When you read an example such as this, practice writing several of your own to really internalize this particular part of speech.
4. Rewrite a scene from a favorite movie or TV show
TV shows and movies are translated into something living and breathing from a script. You can improve your writing by doing the reverse: Attempting to capture the essence of a scene from a movie or series in writing. For example, if you were to rewrite the opening scene of the classic movie Cinema Paradiso :
‘The elderly woman sits knitting when the telephone rings. She hesitates, puts the knitting down carefully on her chair and, turning away from the window that looks out onto the sea, goes downstairs to answer. She doesn’t notice the ball of wool still in her pocket. Unseen, the wool dances around the needles upstairs, unraveling with her every movement.’
Whenever a scene strikes you with its originality, beauty or drama, rewrite it and attempt to capture what makes it memorable in words.
5. Review feedback on your writing
If you belong to a writing group and regularly receive feedback, keep all the constructive instances somewhere for reference. Copy and paste into a master document and read over it from time to time to note recurring patterns. If you repeatedly receive feedback that your characters feel one-dimensional, for example, work actively on making your characters more real.
If possible, get feedback on a new extract of your writing every week. Joining an online writing group will ensure that you have access to constructive feedback whenever you need.
6. Practice condensing overwrought sentences
Good writing is economical: It seldom says in 10 words what it could say in 4. The exception is when you are intentionally writing a character who is wordy themselves.
Learn how to get better at writing by rewriting any clumsy sentence you come across (either your own or another writer’s) using as few words as possible. For example, the previous sentence could be rewritten ‘Improve your writing by rewriting clumsy sentences (whether your own or others’) concisely.’
Saying things more concisely allows readers to process your writing seamlessly, improving your sentences’ flow.
7. Structure your writing better
David K. William in an article on how to improve your writing , gives this advice:
‘Varying sentence length, types and structures helps you avoid monotony and allows you to provide emphasis where appropriate. Use short sentences to emphasize an idea and create a punch. Use longer sentences to define, illustrate or explain ideas…Keep in mind that writing is more than just meaning—it’s also about sounds and can be about visual appearance on paper or screen as well.’
When you do your daily writing practice, experiment with writing in all short sentences, all long sentences or alternating both. Practice rewriting paragraphs with alternate structure, breaking them up into smaller or longer units. This will help you fine-tune your writing.
8. Write an entry in your journal
If you don’t journal daily already, start. Journalling improves writing skills and offers many benefits:
- Writing about your life as it happens lets you process and get in touch with complex emotions and thoughts
- You learn more about what matters in a story by seeing what you put in your journal versus what you leave out – what subjects and experiences do you mostly find worth recording?
- You record and can recollect interesting stories and experiences from daily life that can be used as inspiration for your own fiction
Besides being useful from a creative standpoint, keeping a journal exercises your ability to recount events meaningfully and purposefully – it’s essentially a way to stay in storytelling mode actively.
9. Rewrite a scene three ways
Have you ever written a story from one point of view only to realize that the story would make more sense if it were told by a secondary character? There are many ways to tell a story. To improve your writing, practice telling the same story multiple ways. Rewriting as a creative exercise gives you particular insight into ways you can improve your writing as well as your current story.
When you have a scene and you want to make it more dramatic or interesting, rewrite it three ways. Try changing the POV, whether you write it in first or third person, the setting or substitute some of the synonyms you’ve discovered for your current verbs. You don’t have to rewrite every scene but do this from time to time to see whether an OK scene could become a gem with a few changes.
10. Do something worth writing about
Some writing is mediocre not because the author lacks writing skill but lacks experience in the places or experiences they are writing about. If you are finding your writing stale or are struggling to come up with interesting turns of plot, plan activities that are out of your normal routine. Join an evening class in your city on an interesting subject, attend public lectures, or go travelling on an adventure if you can. Write down everything that strikes you as interesting. Learning how to write better is sometimes a matter of learning how to live bolder.
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- How to create tension in writing: 8 methods
- Daily writing prompts: 365 ways to practice craft
- How to overcome writer's block: 14 methods
- Tags improving your writing , writing skills
Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.
12 replies on “How to get better at writing daily: 10 methods”
Dear Bridget: I appreciate all your practical advice; it has helped me more than I can express. I would love to read a fiction work from you 🙂 Anything in the works?
Hi Tami, thanks for the kind words, I’m glad to help. You can find my novel Strange Nervous Laughter on the Amazon store here: http://amzn.com/0312544340 . B
Brilliant article, Bridget, I’m in debt to your priceless advice. Thanks for sharing your favorite grammar guide, let me introduce you to another helpful writing guide: https://unplag.com/materials/free-plagiarism-guide/ . It would be helpful for writers who want to know how to recognize and avoid plagiarism, do a profound research, and much more. I hope, you’ll enjoy using it too. Thanks for making the writing process easier!
Hi Kassie. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check it out.
Is writing something that comes naturally or is it more of a skill you need to learn?
Hi Harry – this one somehow slipped through the cracks – my apologies! It’s a little bit of both, in different measures for different writers. Some authors have a gift for language that they don’t need to work at much, while others have to labour hard. Yet learning and improving is something every person can do if they set their will to it!
Thank you for unique tips. They are really helpful for me.
I’m glad to hear that, Mandy. Thanks for reading our blog!
Thank you so much! I am sure I will improve my writing using these methods. I appreciate your help.
It’s a pleasure, Bruce. Thank you for reading our articles! You can also get critiques by peers in our free critique forum (it requires a basic membership).
The tips helped me a lot in my studying,I am a secondary 1 student and I meet my expectations in writing.Thank you for all the tips
Fantastic, thank you for sharing that. Good luck with your studies this year!
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When you are writing a story and refer to a character by a physical trait, occupation, age, or any other attribute, rather than that character’s name, you are bringing the reader’s attention to that particular attribute. That can be used quite effectively to help your reader to focus on key details with just a few words. However, if the fact that the character is “the blond,” “the magician,” “the older woman,” etc. is not relevant to that moment in the story, this will only distract the reader from the purpose of the scene.
If your only reason for referring to a character this way is to avoid using his or her name or a pronoun too much, don’t do it . You’re fixing a problem that actually isn’t one. Just go ahead and use the name or pronoun again. It’ll be good.
Someone finally spelled out the REASON for using epithets, and the reasons NOT to.
In addition to that:
If the character you are referring to in such a way is THE VIEWPOINT CHARACTER, likewise, don’t do it. I.e. if you’re writing in third person but the narration is through their eyes, or what is also called “third person deep POV”. If the narration is filtered through the character’s perception, then a very external, impersonal description will be jarring. It’s the same, and just as bad, as writing “My bright blue eyes returned his gaze” in first person.
if the story is actually told through the eyes of one particular viewpoint character even though it’s in the third person, and in their voice , as is very often the case, then you shouldn’t refer to the characters in ways that character wouldn’t.
In other words, if the third-person narrator is Harry Potter, when Dumbledore appears, it says “Dumbledore appears”, not “Albus appears”. Bucky Barnes would think of Steve Rogers as “Steve”, where another character might think of him as “Cap”. Chekov might think of Kirk as “the captain”, but Bones thinks of him as “Jim”.
Now, there are real situations where you, I, or anybody might think of another person as “the other man”, “the taller man”, or “the doctor”: usually when you don’t know their names, like when there are two tap-dancers and a ballerina in a routine and one of the men lifts the ballerina and then she reaches out and grabs the other man’s hand; or when there was a group of people talking at the hospital and they all worked there, but the doctor was the one who told them what to do. These are all perfectly natural and normal. Similarly, sometimes I think of my GP as “the doctor” even though I know her name, or one of my coworkers as “the taller man” even though I know his. But I definitely never think of my long-term life partner as “the green-eyed woman” or one of my best friends as “the taller person” or anything like that. It’s not a sensible adjective for your brain to choose in that situation - it’s too impersonal for someone you’re so intimately acquainted with. Also, even if someone was having a one night stand or a drunken hookup with a stranger, they probably wouldn’t think of that person as “the other man”: you only think of ‘other’ when you’re distinguishing two things and you don’t have to go to any special effort to distinguish your partner from yourself to yourself.
This is something that I pretty consistently have to advise for those I beta edit. (It doesn’t help that I relied on epithets a lot in the earlier sections of my main fic because I was getting into the swing of things.) I am reblogging this so fanfic writers can use this as a reference.
A good rule of thumb: a character’s familiarity with another character decreases the need for an epithet (and most times you really don’t need one at all).
Your characters have problems.
I don’t mean flaws in character design, even though they possibly do. I mean the problems your characters SHOULD have. The problems they face in your story ie. villains, conflict, war, homophobic parents, not having a date to the big dance. Y’know…like a plot.
Here are 3 ways to improve your plot
1. Your Characters Need to Make Decisions
This may sound obvious, but it isn’t always. The Problem™ isn’t just something your character has to go through that sucks—they should be faced with options, and have to make Active Decisions™ that affect the outcome of the story. This gives your characters agency—if they don’t have agency, if they don’t make decisions, your characters will be read as passive . Passive characters aren’t interesting.
2. These Choices Need To Be Hard
Give your characters inner conflict.
Hard, tough decisions to make. How to face their big problem. In figuring out what options your characters will choose, remember their
- They way they were raised
- Moral/Ethical/Spiritual beliefs
3. Figure Out The Stakes
Based on what kind of story you have, the stakes for your protagonist are going to be different.
- SciFi novel about how the world is going to get obliterated by an evil force in 2 days? High stakes.
- Romance novella about 29-year old Tequila Sheila who can’t seem to find a date to her brother’s wedding? Lower stakes.
And there’s nothing wrong with having higher or lower stakes—but do think about where your stakes should be for your particular story. Many stories don’t have high enough stakes for readers to be captivated; these stories need to be reconfigured, after realizing what exactly is at stake and to what degree. Understanding what your stakes are can help you figure out what kind of reading experience your book will be.
These themes and ideas connect with a lot stories. What about yours?
(Credit in Pic)
Hey just stumbled here looking for advice. How do you write better descriptions of characters? Mine seem too plain and have little to no details except for the cliche, “X had blue eyes that resembles the sky/sea.”
Guide: Describing Character Appearance and Clothing
DO: provide just enough detail to give the reader a sense of the character’s appearance. DON’T: go overboard with too many details or take up a lot of the reader’s time describing what a character looks like.
DO: focus on a few important traits and anything that serves as clues to who or what the character is and what their life is like.
DON’T: make a big deal out of traits that aren’t important to the story… like don’t mention that the character has freckles in every description. A few mentions throughout the story is more than adequate.
DO: describe clothing to give a general sense of the character’s normal attire, or when the character dresses differently than they usually do, such as during a special occasion.
DON’T: describe every single outfit the character wears unless those outfits are relevant to the action of the story in some way, such as a spy wearing disguises.
DO: establish a general sense of the character’s physique and appearance and remind reader of those characteristics occasionally.
DON’T: fixate on the character’s physical attributes in every description. Your reader can only tolerate so many descriptions of luscious buns and bugling muscles…
DO: choose a few traits of minor characters to give them dimension.
DON’T: go into too much detail about characters who aren’t that important.
Choose a Focal Point
When describing a character’s appearance, choose a focal point and work up or down from there. For example, you may describe them from head to toe, or from toe to head. Try not to skip around. If you’re describing their face, start with their hair and work your way down to their mouth, or start at the mouth and work your way up to their hair. This doesn’t mean you have to describe every detail from head to toe, but whatever details you do choose, go in order.
Describing Race and Ethnicity
It’s fine to say that a character is Black, white, Latinx, Native American, First Nations, Middle Eastern, Asian (East Asian, South Asian… see below for more), or Pacific Islander. However, if you know where your character or their ancestors are from specifically (ie: China, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Lebanon), say that.Asia: East Asian (China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau), South Asian (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives), Southeast Asian (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Lester, Vietnam, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands)You can also describe skin color and tone, as well as other characteristics like eyes and hair, and that’s especially important if your character is of multi-racial or unknown racial origin, or if you’re writing fantasy where Earth races don’t exist. @writingwithcolor has wonderful guides on how to do this correctly.
If you describe the race and skin tone of the People of Color in your story, you should also describe the race and skin tone of the white characters in your story. Please avoid comparisons to food and beverage, and please don’t use “tan” to describe the skin of a Person of Color unless they are sporting a suntan. You can get creative just by using basic skin colors like brown and pink. For example, her skin was dark brown with a warm red undertone. Or, her skin was pale pink with a lemony undertone.
Just like with physical appearance, when describing clothing you want to choose a focal point and work up or down. Think about the garments they’re wearing (pants, shirt, coat) and accessories (hat, jewelry, shoes). Be sure to choose clothing that’s relevant to your character and era/setting. You can find out about appropriate clothing by Googling the time and place your story is set plus the word clothing:
“Clothing in Victorian England”“Clothing in 1960s New York”“9th century Viking clothing”
Be sure to avoid cheap Halloween costume sites/pictures as references and instead look for articles/guides to clothing or shops providing clothing for historical reenactments.
Things to consider:
- style (ie: swing dress, bell bottoms, blouse, etc.)
- collar/neckline (v-neck, scoop neck, peter pan collar, etc.)- sleeve style (sleeveless, spaghetti straps, cap sleeve, etc.)- dress length (cocktail dress, tea length, evening gown, etc.)- dress shape (A-line, mermaid, empire waist, sheath, etc.)
- shoes and shoe style (sneakers, boots, loafers, Mary Janes, etc.)
- accessories (jewelry, sunglasses, hats, scarves, bags, gloves, etc.)
- formal wear and accessories (tuxedo, vest, cummerbund, gloves, etc.)
- outerwear (sweaters, jackets, and coats)
- fabric (wool, polyester, chiffon, spandex, tweed, etc.)
Looking for Inspiration
There are many resources online for both historical and modern clothing. For historical clothing, you can look for web sites about the period or for blogs and shops dedicated to historical reenactment. For modern clothing, you can look at the web sites of your favorite brands or stores, or you can go to Google Image Search and type in a general descriptor, like, “short black party dress” and find one you like, then read the description for the material, cut, and other descriptive clues. You can also try general searches like, “Man in a business suit” or “woman in a cocktail gown” if you’re not quite sure where to start.ETA:
Oops! There were a few errors and typos that I’ve fixed. Updated 8/1/19
File this under “super obvious yet I always seem to forget it.”
I don’t write romance (I totally respect people who do, though!) but this is also great writing advice in general! What is preventing the protagonist from achieving their goal?
Why can’t these two people be together now?
Why can’t the mystery be solved now?
Why can’t they overthrow the evil overlord now?
If you don’t have a solid answer for these questions, that’s a good indicator that the plot could use some more work.
Also test your answer a little bit. If it’s as thin as they’re just refusing to sit down and have a simple conversation, you might want to re-think how things are going.
As a beta reader/editor, I tend to ask this question a lot: “Why are they doing it this way when there’s a much easier path available?” That’s not to say that they should take the easier path, because that would usually be boring. Instead, the point is that the question needs an answer–either eliminate the easier path or give them a very clear reason for not taking it. (And if I’m asking the question, that reason isn’t as clear as you think it might be.)
I find it very difficult to root for characters who have a sensible option available and just don’t take it. If the only reason is “Because there wouldn’t be a story otherwise,” you haven’t actually found the story yet.
And this is why the Big Misunderstanding as a primary plot device is almost universally disliked.
I see loads of people who say I have this oc and a world and a really intricate backstory but no plot so I can't write.
You do have a plot.
Your intricate backstory is a plot.
Most people have a clear begining middle and end. They know what emotional state the character is supposed to start and end with. They know the plot twists and the friends whose deaths destroy the character forget.
That's a plot. Write that. You've already done the heavy lifting.
Guys, I edit professionally. This list is legit. Incorporating these suggestions before you hire an editor will save you A LOT of money. Even if you did these and nothing else, you’d see significant overall improvement in your work.
That said, you don’t have to overthink these things when you’re writing a first draft. If you write, “she said angrily” in a first draft, you can always revisit the phrasing in a second draft. I mention this because overthinking style can lead to a loss of momentum, and losing momentum is why so many people never finish a draft. Give yourself permission to write fast, write messy or ugly, and edit your draft into beauty later.
First of all, I love your writing so much, and I am truly sorry if something like this has already been asked, I looked through your blog but didn't find anything! So, on to my question. I am never able to actually stick to my outlines. I have a very broad outline of what I want to write, but when I sit down to write none of what I planned out actually gets written, it ends up being something completely different! Is there a way to avoid that?
Why Can’t I Stick to My Outline?
Aw thank you
1. You don’t know your characters well enough when you outline , so when you write them, they make unexpected choices.
Solution: Develop your characters through writing before you outline. You can do this by role playing online, or adding them to short stories or by writing random scenes from your outline. (And keep in mind here, that sometimes thinking about your characters and filling out forms or taking notes will help, and sometimes it just creates a misguided illusion which will change the moment you start writing. Characters can be funky like that.)
2. You’re focusing your outline too much on where you’re going and not why you’re going there , so when you write, your story goes in the wrong direction.
Solution: Put more time into developing the motivations and goals of the characters and the initial conflict, making those tight enough that they can only lead to a certain outcome.
Instead of viewing your outline as a series of events (“I want the three main characters to have an argument and then they all go to the beach”), look at what’s forcing these characters to do the thing you want from them (“I know the three main characters all have vastly different opinions on what to do with the stolen money which are deeply rooted in these specific parts of their past and this is driving a wedge between them, but if they don’t go to the beach together they will lose out on their old chance to question the mysterious person who disrupted their lives and forced them together.”)
3. Your story is trying to tell you what it wants to be, but you’re clinging to your old ideas of it and so can’t enjoy the new version.
Solution: Just don’t outline. This isn’t something I recommend most people do, but occasionally there are writers who create better stories when they don’t try to preconceive what they want out of the story ahead of time, and just let it take it’s natural course. You can always edit things around later!
You can also mix this with solution two, and outline the inciting conflicts, goals, and internal struggles ahead of time. By carefully devising characters who clash and placing them in situations with high stakes vs rewards which drive them to work together toward a common goal against an opposition they are thematically and externally bound to, you’ll have a solid foundation upon which to build your story.
4. You’ve done everything imaginable and still can’t get your rough draft to match your outline.
Solution: Edit or rewrite until you get where you want to be! Books aren’t finished in one, or even two or three drafts. They need a lot of revisions, and some of those can involve correcting plot dentures and character arcs and so-forth.
This is a great guide! Alternative to abandoning your outline, you can also treat it as more like guidelines that rules. That is, you can use your outline to plan where you THINK everything is going to go, but still allow the story to grow and change while you write it. Afterward, you can compare your outline and what you’ve written and decide which is the better one to keep. If you like where the story has organically grown, simply update your outline to match and move on with the rest of your plans based on the new route!
I'm trying to write a story but I'm not sure about the conflict. Specifically, I dont have a true villain or enemy to face. The conflict I'm writing is essentially "powerful and ancient nature spirits are awakening from their seals and Nature itself is reacting in often cataclysmic ways... but the spirits themselves are not consciously causing it to happen." Its essentially a Man vs. Nature themed story set in a fantasy setting with Hero's Journey and Journey to the West vibes going on.
A story doesn't need a villain, only a conflict. It sounds to me like you know what challenge is being faced and that's really all you need. Look at all of the man vs. nature books and such. The villain can be climate or starvation or even finding self-motivation to accomplish something. As long as there's a conflict, there's a story. You don't need a traditional villain one bit.
Hey! I have a character who I want to be seen as 'bad' or 'trouble'. The main source of this view for my other characters is that he's from a low class family, with members that have violent histories. I want to let my characters and readers slowly find the good in him, and kind of feel regretful about their initial assumptions. I'm really stressing the "don't judge a book by its cover" idea. I'm not sure how to get my readers to have the same negative view of him initially. Tips? Ideas?
In real life, what would give you that impression? The type of home they live in, the clothes they wear, the way people talk about them. Their own personal attitude might be a little rough and against the societal norms. Whatever would make you harshly judge someone without good reason can be incorporated.
Deepening Social and Political Conflict in your Fiction
In many speculative fiction works, war or civil unrest is common, sometimes it’s a given. And yet so often, these grand, world-shattering wars are shallow when looked at straight-on. If you think about the history of the conflict or the spark that sent the nations to war, you can come up kind of dry. A lot of readers are tired of “WAR” being the default backdrop of a story, especially when it’s used as a prop rather than handled with the care it should be.
So how do you make sure that your social and political conflicts don’t just provide a canvas to your story, but help deepen and strengthen the world and the characters therein? Simple! Just do a little thinking!
- What are they fighting over/why are they fighting?
- Misconceptions or misunderstanding
- Political or social ideologies
- Something stupid
- Freedom (revolution)
- Who is the root of the conflict between?
- Nation & Nation
- Government & People
- Two factions of people
- Parts of the same government
- Government & Church/Religious group
- Church & People
- Government & Private institution
- Or does it span numerous groups?
- How has it spread?
- How long has this conflict been going on?
- What was the origin point of this disagreement?
- How quickly have things escalated?
- How has magic or technology figured into the conflict as it is and as it’s developed?
- What has motivated the continuation of this fighting?
- What level of devastation have the people dealt with?
- What is the military structure of the two sides?
- How much do your characters know and understand about the history or reasons surrounding the war? How does that influence their feelings toward it?
- Are there outside influences that are escalating the situation by getting involved? Perhaps manipulating or aiding one side?
- What event triggered the initial conflict? The war (if they’re two separate things)?
- Do the people remember what started the war, or has too much time passed?
- How has the constant presence of war altered the society and culture?
- How much fear is present in the day-to-day life of the citizens?
- How do parents handle the knowledge that their children will undoubtedly go off to war at X age?
- How has the family structure changed with the constant absence of soldiers?
- Does lineage play any part in how likely a child is to be recruited or what level they start at?
- How hardened have people come to war and death?
- When does soldier training start for children? Is there a gender divide on who fights and who doesn’t? How is “fitness” determined for combat?
- Has there been any tries at peace between the warring factions? How were they handled? Why did they fail?
- Have art, literature, music etc. survived the enduring war? How has the umbrella of unrest affected the arts?
- What do the people believe this war is trying to accomplish? Or do they accept it as a part of life that will likely never go away?
- How do people cope with the upheaval of their lives?
- How are soldiers selected and trained?
- How informed are the general citizens?
- How in-danger are the non-combatant people?
- Are emotions running rampant, or are they in check? Or is ignorance bliss for most people?
- How quickly did the inciting incident lead to the full-on war?
- How well- or ill-tempered are the leaders of the sides and how does that contribute to the way the delegations, exchanges, and treaties are handled?
- Are the people of the general public on board with going to war, or are they angry about their leaders’ involvement?
- How well-documented and reported are the goings-on at the front lines/in governmental offices?
- Why are the people unhappy or unsettled?
- What groups are trying to resolve the issues or help the needy during the fragile times?
- What are the opposing sides/ideas trying to accomplish and how are they balanced over discontentment rather than heading straight to war?
- How much pressure is there to start an uprising?
- Has the disagreement between some groups brought unity to others?
- Is the unrest more mental and political, or are there mobs rioting in the streets?
- Are there rumors (true or not) circulating that are adding to the tension?
- Is there a press involved? How are their reportings affecting the people? How are they viewed by the ones in power?
- How long has this unrest been present? Do people think that it will eventually lead to a revolution or war…or are they just resigned to the way things are?
Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series! Magic Systems, Part One Magic Systems, Part Two New Species New Worlds New Cultures New Civilizations Politics and Government Map Making Belief Systems & Religion Guilds, Factions & Groups Science & Technology History & Lore
I've created a discord server for neurodivergent artists and writers!
What kind of art and writing, you ask? Everything!
- Digital art
- Traditional art
- Music, songwriting
- Crochet, sewing
- 3D modeling, printing, sculpting
- Game design
- Fiction, fanfic
- And whatever other kind of art you make!
We've got bots to give you prompts and reminders and do writing sprints with others. We've got roles you can ping for a beta read/feedback or just someone to cheer you on! We've got voice channels for voice chat and others for listening to ambient background noise or music with others.
Come check it out!
This sounds cool for anyone interested.
I tend to have vivid and lucid dreaming. Not sure why but sometimes it’s more of a curse than an actually blessing. I wanted to start turning some of my dreams into stories but do not write very well and don’t know what view/person to tell the story from. Do you have any tips?
Okay, alright, this ask is super exciting for me (all of my writing is based on my weird vivid dreams).
Now, dreams are hard to remember. They're often a little nonsensical and sometimes your subconscious will play up points that just aren't going to work for a story. While the dream may be super interesting in your head, it might be hard to translate to a reader who didn't experience it. I'm going to tell you my process for turning dreams into stories. If it works for you, that's great, but if it doesn't, oh well.
- I always start by recalling the dream and trying to write down as much of it as I can remember. I try to be as specific as I possibly can. Think of the thoughts, emotions, visuals. Describe them vividly. The more details you can collect, the more 100% original brain pieces you'll have to work with.
- After I do this, I try to think of what story I'm trying to tell. Who's story I'm trying to tell? Just a general statement about what's mainly going on in the dream. This part, for me, is the hardest because there's a lot going on in mine and sometimes I'm different characters within the dream. But, once I know what type of story I'm trying to showcase, I can move onto the next step.
- Find an ending. I always start with the ending first. It's so much easier to start at the end. How you got there is easier to figure out than where you're going. And most of my dreams don't have a definite conclusion.
- Look over what you remember from the dream. Select as many scenes that would make sense for that story as possible. Think of what would drive it forward. Use these pieces. Any powerful visuals from the dream can be incorporated as well.
- Fill in the gaps. Just try to get it into a place where it's going to make sense and flow.
- Start planning the story with whatever method you use. I use the snowflake method, but everyone is different. Something that works for me might not work for you, while something that works for you might not work for me.
Alright, so I've been super inactive on this blog and I hate making excuses but in the past year, I became homeless and lived in a tiny treehouse in someone's yard, met my soulmate, worked as a script supervisor, and now I'm engaged and having a baby, so I'll be back and more active.
What do you consider is the difference between killing off a gay character and the “burying the gays” trope?
I’m bisexual and I in no way want to write a bury the gays story. However my writing is tragic at times and includes important death scenes.
These characters are also gay, but they are not being killed for that reason. I want my story to be written well but i dont want to be that guy. I could use some help defining the trope!
The difference lies in the death’s relevance to the plot. A kill the gays plot will kill the character only for the shock value and tragedy’s sake, but a plot in which a gay character dies as an important piece for the plot to move forward is more acceptable.
Do you have any tips for writing a scene where a character realises they have romantic feelings for someone else?
I would make the character they have feelings for the focus of their attention. They can’t even focus on their current partner or whatever the relationship because they are too busy thinking of the other person. Personally, I’d make it in a moment when the stakes are running high and they have a sudden realization where their love is going.
Is it okay to have chapters full of character development even if they don't make the plot progress?
Honestly, it’s okay to do whatever you want to do. If you’re wondering whether or not people will like chapters focused solely on character development, then I have good news for you. Because plot and character are designed to be linked together, I bet that your character-development chapters are doing more for your plot than you realize. Regardless, let’s break down different types of “character-development” scenes and see where you’re at.
Character Development vs. Characters Arcs
I think this is a good place to start with this post. Every novel should have a plot or subplot that explores the main character’s transformation. And yes, you better have a transformation of some kind. For a story to be effective, the plot should be big enough that it changes your characters in some way. Think about who they are at the beginning and imagine how their experiences throughout the novel change them. This is what creates your character arc .
Character development is such a big, bold term that many of us just throw around to describe anything character related. But let’s look a little deeper. Development is about shaping and molding your characters, as if you were sculpting them from a mound of clay. The more details you include, the more vivid the character. And when you do something unexpected with these details (avoiding cliched characters), you create pieces of art that intrigue readers and make them like the character even more. Development is your process of defining the character.
You know you’ve done your job well when you (the writer) can predict a character’s actions or reactions in any situation, regardless of whether or not that situation actually occurs in the novel. Challenge yourself with this. What would they do as a bystander in an armed robbery? How would they react to losing their job? What would they say if they discovered someone had lied to them?
This is what character development is. When it comes to character development within your novel, you’re attempting to translate what you already know about your character to your readers. The most effective way to do this is to show it. Put them in scenarios that reveal who they are.
If you’re spending entire chapters simply listing a character’s attributes and describing how they respond to vague situations and scenarios, then you’re telling . This is where I would caution a writer to avoid chapters entirely devoted to development. Readers don’t want character traits to be relayed to them; they want them to be demonstrated.
Character Development Scenes
Alrighty, moving ahead. So we’ve eliminated scenes where you’re simply writing a character description. What about scenes where you do show who the character is? What if you write that armed robbery scene to show how they respond in a tense situation, and it turns out that this armed robbery has no bearing on the rest of the plot? Is this okay?
It can be. Assuming the reaction to the armed robbery leads to change. Because in any challenging moment, a character will experience an immediate action and a followup action. The immediate action encompasses what they do in the moment. Did they try to disarm the person? Did they attempt to alert the police in secret? Did they try to run away? The followup action is how they approach new decisions given this new experience. The fear of death in that situation may lead them to take action against other (plot-related) events in their life. They may receive an injury that impedes their progress or forces them to adapt. All of this impacts how the character approaches the internal and external conflicts. In other words, the armed robbery served to move the plot forward, despite its initial disconnect from the main event.
Maybe the character-development scenes you’re thinking of are less intense. Maybe they’re introspective walks or light-hearted conversations.
For the latter, remember that dialogue should be purposeful. A humorous jab or quippy exchange is delightful and fun to read, but if you’re going to spend a lot of page real estate on nothing but playful banter between characters, you better be building to something. Good examples of this would be the relationship eventually falling apart or being challenged.
When it comes to introspection , you should be building to a decision. A character that thinks back through recent events should be doing so in an effort to devise a strategy. An introspective walk should be because “Hell, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Maybe if I take a walk and clear my head, I’ll figure it out.” When they’re thinking, they’re preparing to act. And that is related to your plot in a BIG way.
Okay, I’ve been answering questions on Tumblr for over 4 years now, and this has come up many times. The flashback is the number one culprit for gratuitous character development. We writers take a considerable amount of time coming up with complex backstories for our characters and nothing kills us more than spending time on material that no one ever gets to see. So it’s only natural that we push to include flashbacks in our novels, so that we not only get to write these exciting histories, but readers get to enjoy them too.
Often, the problem is that whatever past is being shared in the flashback has no bearing on the current conflict. Whatever it is has long since been resolved. So writers start to get worried that the flashback fails to move the plot forward, which is something they’re told that every single scene should do.
Obviously novels where past events affect the present timeline should have flashbacks. These are novels where timelines are interspersed to tell a complete story. One of my favorite novels I read this past year was The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton, which features dual timelines. Eventually the past catches up to the present, and we move forward for the rest of the novel. This type of situation is definitely okay.
Flashbacks that do nothing but reveal something of the character’s past can work…as long as that flashback is contributing to the character arc. Remember, our character arc is showcasing our character’s transformation. If you can justify this flashback as being relevant to where the character started and how they will change, then it will probably work without being superfluous.
Plot Development Can Be Unpredictable
In spite of all this, don’t forget that your plot evolves as your character evolves. We often don’t really know our characters until we start writing them. This means that any plot decision we’ve already made can change in a heartbeat as our character’s development takes an unexpected turn. Be willing to adapt to these changes and let your character development impact what happens.
Characters should affect your plot. So when you look at that way, a scene that focuses on character development always has the potential to move your plot forward.
i've been writing a book and the feedback i've gotten from family members is that i have been using a lot of description, that the plot is moving along pretty slowly, and "something" needs to happen. do you have any tips or advice on moving plots along quicker in order to keep the reader's attention? thanks so much!!
How to Move a Story Forward
When your character is just milling about in their world describing what they see, what they’re doing, and what’s happening to them, that’s not really a plot. It’s just a random string of events happening to your character, and typically it doesn’t make for very interesting reading. This kind of story moves slowly because nothing’s actually happening. Imagine following an average person through their average day versus following Katniss Everdeen through day three of The Hunger Games. It’s a big difference. And that’s not to say every plot has to be as exciting or dramatic as The Hunger Games , but there does need to be a conflict.
So, the first thing you have to do is sit down and figure out what your story is really about. What is going on in this person’s life that is worth writing about? Is there some sort of inner conflict they’re struggling with? Or is there an external conflict of some kind? Usually there are both with the focus being more on one than the other.
How stories begin…
Most stories start when a character’s life is still normal but just about to change. Katniss was getting ready to go hunting with Gale. Bella was settling in at her new high school after moving in with her dad, and Harry Potter was just living life as the boy in the cupboard.
What happens next…
And then something happens. This is called the “inciting incident” because it “incites” the conflict and brings on the important events of the story. Katniss volunteers as tribute when her sister is drafted into The Hunger Games. Bella meets Edward Cullen and an instant attraction develops between them. Harry Potter receives his letter to Hogwarts.
The character responds and forms a goal…
The character’s normal life has been turned upside down. Now what? For Katniss, the most important thing in the world to her was the safety and well being of her sister and mother, and since she is the one who keeps them safe and fed, her survival of The Hunger Games is vital. That’s her motivation, and her goal is to win the game. Bella becomes obsessed with learning more about Edward and who, or what, he is, and she falls for him and the magic his world brings into her otherwise boring life. Being part of that world is her motivation, staying alive in the process is her goal. Harry finally has a ticket out of his life of being abused and unloved, and he has a chance to connect with the legacy his parents left behind. Leaving his old life behind and embracing this new one is is motivation. Surviving his first year at Hogwarts is his goal.
But goals aren’t supposed to be easy to reach…
If the character can just sail smoothly right up to their goal, mission accomplished, that makes for a pretty boring story. You never hear people say, “WOW! THAT WAS AN INCREDIBLE GAME!” when the score was 20 to nothing. What makes the game exciting is when the teams are neck and neck, one getting ahead for a little while, then the other one being ahead for a little while. It’s the trying, and often failing, to get over obstacles that makes the conflict more interesting. In a lot of ways, that struggle actually is the conflict. What obstacles stand in the way of your character and their goal, and who (or what) put them there? For Katinss, the obstacles were the other tributes and all the frightening things added to the game by the gamemakers. For Bella, it was the nomad vampires who caused trouble at first for fun, and then later for revenge. The obstacles Harry faces are partly due to conflict with other students and teachers, and partly due to the first “shots fired” in what would become the overarching battle against Voldemort.
You win some, you lose some…
And it’s important that you show some wins along with the failures. Sometimes the character tries to overcome an obstacle, fails, tries again and succeeds. Sometimes they fail and have to come up with a work around. Either way, the fails add to the tension and drama while the wins add excitement and interest in what happens next.
The final showdown…
Eventually you get to the big showdown, aka “the climax.” This is when your character faces down the biggest challenge that stands in the way of reaching their goal. This could be an epic battle between your character and the villain. It could be the moment where your character realizes they’re in love with their best friend and they chase them to the airport to admit their undying love for them before they move away. Or it could be surviving one last night of a terrible storm before crawling out of hiding to assess the damage. Whatever it is, the culmination of that moment is achieving or failing to achieve their goal.
The dust settles…
Whatever crazy chain of events was set off by the inciting incident, they’ve come to an end now thanks to the actions of your protagonist and their friends. Or, if they haven’t come to an end, they’ve at least been waylaid for now, or things are at least moving in a better direction. Now your characters can clean up, rebuild, mend wounds, tie up loose threads, and get back to life as normal. Or, in the case of a series, they can re-group and figure out what happens next. And that’s the end.
… But some stories happen on the inside.
Some stories are more about people and their experiences than about any big crazy thing that happens to them. Stories like these are more emotional and are more about dealing with the inner conflict than an outer one. But even in stories like these, you’ll still have a similar structure to what I laid out above. It’s just a lot looser and tied up with an emotional journey rather than the physical one. Which isn’t to say they can’t have a parallel physical journey, but the important stuff is happening on the inside.
Whichever kind of story you’re writing, if you make sure you’re hitting the important points I’ve laid out above, whether they relate to an internal conflict, an external conflict, or a little of both, you can be sure you’re writing a story that is moving forward and will keep your audience engaged. Everything I’ve outlined above is the “something” that needs to happen to make your story interesting.
Good luck! :)
I’m 18, homeless, and now I live in a treehouse built by some stoner in the woods. Sounds like a prompt for y’all.
When I write, I feel like I don't know my characters' personalities. Like, I write them how I see them, but where my friends who have read it see character development, I see bland characters with little to no traits. Do you have any advice?
I used to struggle with this as well. What helped me out was creating characters with detailed backstories. Think about it this way: what sets individuals apart from each other? It’s the way they react and emote and a lot of that comes from how they were raised. For example, I have a character who was severely neglected and her only refuge was in reading and knowledge. I changed her dialogue to be very formal and, while she experiences deep rooted emotion, she isn’t vocal about it because someone without a verbal outlet for emotion isn’t going to showcase it most of the time. Another character is extremely poor, uneducated, and comes from a volatile household. Her speech is less complicated, her reactions are much more dramatic, and there are more of them. Knowing exactly where the character came from helps develop them further and just create a much more real feeling to them.
Daily Writing Habit Overview & Plan
Daily writing habit overview & plan, by leo babauta.
Once you have the intention to write every day ( read this post for why you should ), it’s not always as easy as just saying, “I’m going to do it.”
It doesn’t have to be hard, but there are a few obstacles that stand in the way:
- You get busy and push the writing back in the day, and often it gets left off.
- You’re intimidated by writing and so you move to things you find easier or more comfortable (checking email, social media, etc.).
- You’re not that motivated to write so you put it off.
- Too many distractions.
- Nothing to write about — staring at a blank page with no idea of what to write can be scary.
With those obstacles, it seems a miracle anyone ever writes at all. And yet, just look at the Internet, with its crazy amount of blog posts and articles. People are writing, overcoming these obstacles.
However, taken individually, each obstacle is solvable. Let’s look at each one, and find a simple solution:
- You’re busy : set aside just 10-15 minutes to write, first thing in the morning (before your day gets busy). Even 5-10 minutes in the beginning. Later, as you get better at the habit, you can increase this block of time. Make this an unmissable appointment, more important than any doctor’s appointment.
- You’re intimidated : If you focus on just writing for a few minutes, it’s not that intimidating. Even if you set aside 15 minutes, you don’t need to write for the entire time. Focus on starting . Starting is not hard … it’s just writing a few words.
- You’re not motivated . Commit to writing to an accountability group — on the forum, or with friends/family. Share your writing with them if you like — it’s motivating. Either way, report to them whether you wrote or not.
- Too many distractions . Close your browser when you write. Close all other programs but a simple writing program. The writing program you choose doesn’t matter at all — even the text editor that comes with your computer (Notepad or TextEdit) will work great.
- Nothing to write about . Spend a little time during the day thinking about what you’ll write the next day — exercise, the shower, a daily walk, and your commute are good times to do this thinking. Each night when you go to bed, think about what you’re going to write the next day, so that when you wake up, you’re prepared to write.
Each of those solutions is fairly simple: set aside an unmissable 10-minute appointment first thing in the morning, focus on starting, be accountable to others, close your browser & other programs, think about your writing the night before. You can do each of these.
And those elements will be the main components of our plan!
The Daily Writing Habit Plan
Now that we know what we’re up against, and we have solutions, let’s put them together into the plan for the Daily Writing Habit module:
- Commit to writing every day this month . Make a public commitment, to your accountability team on the forum, and/or everyone you know on your favorite social network (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, email, etc.). You don’t need to publish your writing each day (though you can), but just write at least 5 minutes a day. It can be in a journal, just in a text document, on a blog, on your favorite social network, etc. It doesn’t have to be good, so let go of your desire for perfection.
- Set aside 5-10 minutes each morning . You can find another time if you like, such as your lunch break or right when you get to work, or evening. Find what works for you. I find morning works for many people because at this point, you haven’t gotten busy yet. Treat this appointment as an unmissable meeting with yourself. Make it more important than any other meeting.
- Have a trigger & reminders . When will you do your writing appointment? It can be at a certain time, but it’s best if you do it right after something else you regularly do each morning: wake up, have coffee, take a shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast, etc. If you check email as soon as you wake up, I suggest you put writing between waking up and email. So waking up would be your trigger. Set reminders, or write reminder notes for yourself, that will be seen when your trigger happens.
- Think about your writing the day before . Think about what you want to write about during a workout, on a walk, in the shower, while you eat, on your commute, in a boring meeting. But definitely think about it before you go to sleep.
- Just focus on starting each day . Close your browser & all other programs, turn off notifications. In fact, it’s best to do those the night before, so you aren’t distracted when you first open your computer. You can write with pen & paper if you find that better. Now just start. Just write a few words — that’s all you have to do to be successful today. You don’t have to write for a full 5-10 minutes. Just start. Once you get started, you’ll probably want to do more, but that’s not a requirement.
- Report on your success! Actually, report to your accountability group every single day, whether you were successful or not. There may be some days when you’re not successful, and in that case definitely report to your group, but make a stronger commitment to get back on track the next day. I like to commit to giving myself penalties if I don’t do it, just for fun, and it motivates me to get back on track. Try to string together a string of unbroken days of writing each day, and see how long you can get that streak!
That’s the plan. It’s fairly simple, with six easy steps. None of them are that hard. You got this! Make a commitment today.
Writing, Copywriting, & Marketing Strategies
How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit: 7 Effective Strategies
Published January 4, 2023 | Last Updated January 30, 2023 By Nicole Bianchi 31 Comments
Ray Bradbury once stated, “I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true — hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.”
If you need thousands of hours of practice to become an expert at your craft, then writing every day is the quickest way to start racking up those hours in order to become a master wordsmith.
Writing daily has other benefits besides helping you sharpen your writing skills.
It forces you to clarify your thoughts and arrange them logically. It helps you become a more creative person because you must think up new ideas each day to write about. And, finally, it gives you a constructive way to redeem the time by training you to work productively every day.
Of course, if you’re not used to writing regularly, you’ll probably find it difficult at first. I know I did. I’d make excuses that I didn’t have enough time that day, that I wasn’t inspired, that I had just finished a project and had no idea what to write about next, that I was suffering from an incurable form of writer’s block.
However, these are all bad excuses. Writing every day actually boosts your creativity and helps you overcome writer’s block. Writer’s block is more difficult to beat if you write only sporadically because then writing is unnatural rather than being second nature.
Ultimately, when you start writing every day, eventually it becomes easier and easier to write every day.
Now I make sure to write something every day: it might just be an entry in my journal or it might be several paragraphs of a new article or a new short story.
Here are the seven steps that help me write every day.
1. Make It A Habit
If you are going to train yourself to write consistently every day, it must become a habit like eating dinner or brushing your teeth. Work it into your schedule so that it becomes something that you truly miss if you forget to do it.
Often it helps to set aside a specific chunk of time in your schedule when you know you will be free. Early mornings when you first wake up might be best (maybe your day hasn’t gotten crazily busy yet) or evenings might work for you if that’s when you have free time (maybe right before you go to bed if you’re not too tired).
The important thing is to choose a block of time (say, 8:30 in the morning or 4:00 in the afternoon) and always write at that time. Your brain will become so used to writing at 8:30 that it will automatically focuse and switch into “writing mode” at 8:30 in the morning.
Now, if writing at a specific time doesn’t work for you, try choosing a special place to write and always return to that place when it’s time for your writing sessions. This should be a relatively quiet place where you know you will be able to write for a set period of time and not be disturbed.
If you have trouble focusing, try timing your writing sessions with the Pomodoro technique. I wrote an article about the Pomodoro technique here .
When I’m struggling to focus on my writing, I like to play a piece of music that’s a specific length, say, thirty or forty minutes. I tell myself that I have to write until the music ends. There is one movie soundtrack I’ve listened to so many times during my writing sessions that now, as soon as I start playing it, I feel eager to start writing.
(Listening to a specific piece of music is a type of writing ritual. I wrote more about how rituals can awaken your creativity in my article here .)
This is how Ernest Hemingway described his daily writing practice:
“When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.”
I love Hemingway’s advice for not using up all of one’s inspiration. If you’re working on a piece of writing that isn’t finished by the end of your writing session, make sure you leave off at a place where you still have an idea of how you want to move forward the next day.
This will prevent writer’s block.
2. Start Small
As I mentioned before, if you’re not used to writing daily, you’ll probably find it a bit difficult to stay on track when you first start out. Don’t let that discourage you.
You obviously don’t have to write a novel in your first week, and you certainly don’t have to write for two hours each day. The important thing as you take your beginning steps is just to write, to feel the words flowing from your fingers.
Set small goals for yourself that you know you can accomplish and gradually build up to longer writing periods. That first week you might just challenge yourself to write for fifteen minutes each day or maybe just set a small word count goal for yourself. It can even be as small as 100 words.
Be careful though. Writing has a way of drawing you in, and soon you might be finding it harder to stop than it was to begin.
3. Find A Writing Partner
When I was in middle school, my friends and I started a writing club. We’d meet once a week and share the stories we were working on. This was a great way for us to stay motivated and receive feedback on our writing.
Now, I like to meet up occasionally with friends for writing sessions. It helps me to focus when I’m working on a story when I know my friend is busy writing too. If you enjoy working with others, then finding a writing partner might be the perfect way to keep you accountable to your daily writing sessions.
You might not be able to meet up with your friends for every single writing session, but they can certainly hold you accountable and can critique your writing and help you when you get stuck.
Writers sometimes find their best ideas when brainstorming with others.
4. Keep A Journal Or Start A Blog
You can also hold yourself accountable and watch your writing grow by keeping a journal or starting a blog on a free website like Medium or Substack (depending on whether you want to keep your writing private or share it with the world).
Blogging lets you share your writing with others. At first, you might be hesitant to share your work if you’re a newbie writer. But as you continue to write each day, you will become more and more confident with your writing ability and better able to teach and inspire others.Starting a daily writing habit isn’t as scary as it sounds
I don’t publish every day but sharing my writing on my blog and seeing that people are reading my writing does keep me motivated.
5. Use Writing Prompts
Inevitably, you may come to a writing session and really have no idea what to write about. This is a great time to use pre-written prompts. Just like an essay assignment, a short prompt tells you exactly what to write about.
I know some people who have gotten ideas for novels from work that they did while following a prompt.
If you write nonfiction, sign up for an account on Quora . You can follow topics related to your interests and see the kind of questions people are asking in those fields.
If you write fiction, a quick search on Google will turn up lots of websites with story prompts. I also sometimes search Pinterest for pictures and use them as prompts.
You can also steal Ray Bradbury’s method for banishing writer’s block . Onto a blank page jot down a list of nouns — any nouns that tumble from your fingers: “THE LAKE. THE NIGHT. THE CRICKETS. THE RAVINE.” Let the words spark memories and ideas for stories or new articles.
The lists don’t even have to be nouns. You can also write lists of your favorite books and movies, lists of places you’ve visited, lists of all the most interesting experiences you’ve had, lists of the things you love or hate.
I recently wrote this article on how to find new writing ideas .
6. Experiment With Different Kinds of Writing
Writing sessions are also a great time to experiment with different kinds of writing. If you usually write nonfiction, then why not spend a writing session trying your hand at fiction? Maybe attempt writing a poem or recounting a story that happened in your own life.
When you’re first starting out with your daily writing practice, try to find the type of writing that is easiest and most enjoyable for you, the kind of writing that you get excited for and look forward to each day.
You might want to try writing a novel (just for the fun of it). You’ll have to continue the story each day so you’ll always have something to write about.
7. Get Away From Your Desk And Gather Experiences
Sign up for a class to learn a new skill, pick up a new hobby, or maybe visit a place you’ve never been to before (it doesn’t have to be far away — it could just be the new restaurant that opened in your town). These experiences will give you more topics and ideas to write about. Reading books is another fantastic way to gather new topics to write about.
Julia Cameron observes in her book The Artist’s Way ,
“In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond…Any extended period or piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well. As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them — to restock the trout pond, so to speak.”
If you make time for your writing every single morning or afternoon or evening, despite the distractions and the craziness of your everyday life, and if you don’t give up when you miss a day, you will gradually develop a daily writing habit.
And that means that you will also develop an incredible amount of focus and determination and passion for your craft.
Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art ,
This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it on social media or with a fellow writer who you think would enjoy it too. And if you’d like to support the blog, you can buy me a virtual coffee .
Thank you! Wishing you much success with your writing projects! God bless.
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jishnu kp says
September 26, 2023 at 1:27 am
I really enjoyed your article, I’m trying to commit more time to write more, and your article is very helpful.
Mubaris Rahman says
March 21, 2023 at 3:15 am
Dear Nicole Bianchi ,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for writing such an informative and helpful post. “How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit: 7 Effective Strategies” was just what I needed to kick-start my writing routine, and I’ve already started implementing some of the strategies you outlined.
February 24, 2023 at 1:56 am
I completely agree with your coach’s emphasis on “Butt in chair” – it’s a straightforward but essential reminder that the act of doing the work is often the most challenging part of any creative endeavor.
Don Karp says
February 5, 2023 at 10:44 pm
I write every morning shortly after I get out of bed. But it is not what you propose. It is a type of automatic writing I stumbled across in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” I write with pen and notebook very fast whatever enters my mind. The flow of ink on the page is the catalyst for exploring subconscious material. These few pages are not edited or ever even re-read. The benefit is in the present and not about the practice of becoming an author.
Nicole Bianchi says
February 7, 2023 at 12:40 pm
I started writing morning pages after discovering Cameron’s book as well. But mine are more like a diary — I usually write about my creative projects and anything else I’m up to. I’ll use them to come up with ideas for a story, etc., and I do re-read the month’s entries at the end of the month. So, not quite the same as what she recommended, but I do find writing by hand first thing in the morning very helpful for creativity.
Pulok Dev says
January 11, 2023 at 9:34 am
Very straightforward and inspirational that encourages amateurs to start writing even if they can’t
January 10, 2023 at 3:24 pm
Nice blog post!
I’m not a professional writer. But as a blogger, I have to devolp some writing habits. It’s hard to keep up with the digital writer’s block. You made a great points that are full of value.
Thanks for sharing these amazing tips.
Archana Kumari says
January 10, 2023 at 11:35 am
Thanks Nicole! I found my best blog. I was thinking to start writing as a habit and came through your blog ☺️ Such a beautiful way you made this as an inspiration for many. Good luck 🤞
Burhan Selmani says
January 9, 2023 at 7:22 pm
Writing can be a therapeutic and cathartic activity that can help us to process our thoughts and emotions.
Sebastian Isac says
January 9, 2023 at 7:19 am
Moyinoluwa Ogunjobi says
January 9, 2023 at 5:58 am
Nice article. Another point I would add is to read. Read often and read wide. This is because most accomplished writers are excellent readers. You should make sure to read a wide range of books. Read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, books on history, philosophy, etc.
January 9, 2023 at 5:38 pm
Thank you, Moyinoluwa! Absolutely agree about reading.
Victoria Ogbonna says
January 8, 2023 at 5:42 pm
Very interesting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing.
January 8, 2023 at 9:43 pm
Thanks! I just shared on Linked In, is that ok?
Catherine James says
January 9, 2023 at 4:53 am
Sure. I just joined ĺinkedin.
January 9, 2023 at 5:41 pm
Yes, thank you for sharing on LinkedIn, John.
Thank you, Victoria! I’m glad you found it encouraging.
Idorenyin Benson says
January 8, 2023 at 5:08 pm
This is really made my day. I now have more reasons to create content, writer as often as i can.
January 9, 2023 at 5:42 pm
Fantastic! So glad to hear you found the article helpful, Idorenyin.
January 8, 2023 at 5:23 am
Very interesting and compelling to read your Article. Real inspiration for the person who loves to write. Keen observation , imagination and a quirky ideas are often present but to make it a regular habit is the key. You have provided with the ample guidance….. Thank you so much.
January 9, 2023 at 5:43 pm
Thank you for your kind comment, Hailah! I wish you all the best with your writing this year.
Eric Madeen says
January 8, 2023 at 2:32 am
Happy New Year of the Water Rabbit, Nicole! As I’ve been distracted and blocked over winter break I’ve stalled out on starting back to work and starting a new work. Worse, my son’s bedroom is opposite my third floor garret and he keeps highly uneven hours and often calls questions, etc., to me when I’m in my working state. Plus I have a heavy teaching load at two universities so finding once again a precious consistent block of time is challenging. I just made a new year’s resolution to cut way back on Facebook NOW I need to get back to work writing. By the way I’ve published 6 books and sundry stories and articles. Perhaps I should work in longhand outside … to avoid family interruptions. Loved your advice!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! With appreciation, Eric
January 9, 2023 at 6:28 pm
Happy New Year, Eric! Thank you. Hope you can find the best time to write for you. I know how difficult that can be. Wishing you all the best with your writing projects in 2023!
Mark B says
January 7, 2023 at 11:49 pm
This are all great points. I had a coach that would constantly remind me of the very simple concept of “Butt in chair”. In other words, just sit down and write.
January 9, 2023 at 5:46 pm
Yes, that’s short and simple. I definitely agree, though sometimes I need to get away from my desk to gather inspiration first. Thanks, Mark.
January 6, 2023 at 10:08 am
Thanks for the motivation. I keep putting off my writing until tomorrow. God willing I WILL start tomorrow Saturday 7 January 2034
January 6, 2023 at 10:09 am
Thanks for the motivation. I keep putting off my writing until tomorrow. God willing I WILL start tomorrow Saturday 7 January 2023
January 6, 2023 at 4:30 pm
Cheering you on, Khatija! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this blog post.
Gerrard Foulkes says
January 6, 2023 at 7:58 am
I really enjoyed your article, I’m trying to commit more time to write more, and I have found your article very helpful.
January 6, 2023 at 4:31 pm
Thank you, Gerrard! Happy to hear it helped you.
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