As writers, many of us are finding it difficult to write. It might be the stress. It might be the fact that everyone is home. But as Angela pointed out to me last week, writing can help us process what is happening right now. We need to write. We are, after all, writers even when the world is strange.
Here are three things you can do to prime your writing pump and get the words to flow.
Find a workshop or webinar. Yesterday I attended a Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) webinar on rewriting a novel led by Kate Messner. Knowing that she would be talking to creative professionals who might need a nudge, Kate had several exercises for us to complete. By the time the webinar was over, I was ready to get to work. You can find the list of SCBWI webinars here and don’t forget to look through the list of classes offered by WOW.
Write something that isn’t going to be published. A webinar or class might be more than you want on your calendar, but you can play by writing something you will never submit. I like this because I don’t have to worry about whether or not my editor is going to like it. I can just have fun. One of the best ways for me to play is to write poetry. No, I am not a poet which is why this works. I’m not going to do anything with it other than play. April is National Poetry Month and Writer’s Digest senior editor Robert Lee Brewer is posting a daily poetry challenge on his blog, Poetic Asides. Check out his challenge.
Play with your work in progress. For some people, doing something completely unfamiliar is stressful. If that’s you, play with your work in progress. Copy a scene or chapter into a new document. There are several different things that you can do. You can change your setting – how different would your story be if it took place in a coastal city 100 years ago? Or the Wild West? Or Victorian London? If you aren’t up for something that extreme, rewrite the scene from a different character’s point of view. See what your antagonist or the sidekick has to say about what is going on. Or you could change it from first person to third person omniscient or even second person. No, I don’t expect you to rewrite the whole piece like this but play with one scene and see what you get. It may spark something that gets you writing again.
A pump can be primed only one way, but there is no single fix that works for every writer. If you have a favorite I haven’t mentioned, tell us about it in a comment. Who knows? It might be exactly what a fellow Muffin reader needs to hear.
Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 25 books for young readers. To find out more about her writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey. Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins May 4th, 2020.