I’m spending the week sharing ideas with budding young writers – all full of enthusiasm, eager to learn, and keen to find out what it take to become a writer. It goes without saying that if you want to be a writer you need to read, read, read and write, write, write. And the web is jam-packed with advice for writers. I’ve got a whole stack of writing tips on my website, too. But there’s so much more to being a writer than just writing. So, here are my top ten ideas for improving your writing when you’re not actually sitting at your desk.
- Put down your phone. Step away from the TV screen. Creativity comes from letting your mind wander. You can’t do that if your brain is occupied every waking moment. Give yourself time to daydream.
- Walk as much as you can. Exercise is essential for the body and the mind. Walk with friends if you need to share an idea, otherwise walking the dog or walking alone lets your creative energy flow. Leave the headphones at home.
- Observe the world around you. See what’s actually going on, so you can write authentically. It’s the things that no one else notices that are important. Take photos to keep a record. (You can pick up your phone, now.)
- Listen to conversations. They can be gold for writing dialogue.
- Stay informed. Watch the news, listen to the radio, read a newspaper, or use an impartial news source as a homepage. Don’t just rely on opinion pieces and blogs. Everyone should know what’s going on in the world. And news stories can be a great source of inspiration for fiction.
- Travel to broaden your mind. See how other people live. It gives you perspective on your own life. It’s also a great way to reboot the brain.
- Volunteer. There’s always someone who needs your help. Volunteering is useful and it also makes you feel good.
- Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, keep asking questions until you do.
- Work hard. Having a dream is not enough. You have to work very, very hard to achieve your goals. And you have to finish things!
- Be kind to others and to yourself. It’s the right thing to do. And negative energy zaps creativity.
I might look like I’m on holidays, but I’m hard at work here!
Good luck with your writing.