Daily Tips for Writers

I have been writing these tips daily on Twitter http://twitter.com/Lauramunson Hope they help.

Be intentional. Get to know your “third eye.” And don’t let life infect it. Yes we mine our lives, but writing is a pause.

When people ask what you do, say: I AM A WRITER. Practice saying it in front of the mirror!

Find something physical that requires the same sort of awareness you use in your writing and try to do it every day.

When you are rejected, you haven’t done something wrong. It just wasn’t right for them. Think of it as a numbers game.

Go at it with joy, not fighting and muscling and kicking. Go at it like it’s already there. You’re just lifting the lid.

Don’t believe in writer’s block. It doesn’t exist for you. What MUST you write? You know the answer. Now write it.

Write what you must and write it with compassion.

Don’t let Social Media interrupt your focus. Use it as a tool and be grateful for community. And know when to unplug.

Do something sacred before you begin. A cup of tea. A deep breath. Lie on the floor with your eyes closed. A beginning.

Don’t take rejections personally. Take a breath, and send it out again. GOOD LUCK!

Use your pearls as they come. No need to stockpile them. More will come.

Challenge yourself to be flexible. Write not just on your mother ship computer, but on a laptop, outside, on a legal pad

When in doubt, ask. You have to ask. For connections, advice, help, time, space, critique, support. Ask.

Read books like textbooks, underline, comment in margins, date your comments. Don’t lend them out. Refer to them often.

Don’t take outlines too seriously. Your characters are your guides.  Sherpas, even.  Follow them.

Love your characters. Even the villians.  They all have something to teach you.  But you have to love them into it.

When you give your working drafts to friends to read, make sure you agree to the shape of critique you want and deadline.

If you don’t want to write a scene, maybe it doesn’t belong in your book. Trust your instincts. Be willing to re-route.

If you find you are having a hard time balancing between your writing and social media, consider getting two computers. One cyber. One not.

In the spirit of Twitter, keep it lean. Exile adverbs. They suck the action dry.

 Consider your reader and ask yourself: why do they need my writing? Writing is an act of empathy. It’s not all yours.

 Writing is your meditation, your prayer, your way of life, and sometimes your way TO life.  At least it is for me.

If your loved ones don’t read your stuff, consider it a compliment.They want to know you as they know you.Not always on the page.

I love hearing from writers who love their work.  We need to be hungry for our own work.  Champions.  Stewards.  Even when the publishers don’t agree.  

Clean your office. Clutter bring chaos. A clean space really helps with the blank page.

Be willing to learn something about yourself on the page. It’s okay to “tell” on yourself. It will help people and you.

What is your piece about? Practice saying it outloud on a walk, in 3 minutes or less. It may morph as you go along. That’s OK.

Writing comes from sacredness, silence, and sometimes secrecy. Oftentimes best not to share what you are writing about til it’s done.

I find that writers who are writing are kind to one another. Not competetive. Let’s keep this kindness alive and well.

Hemingway couldn’t write in an airplane and either can I. Best to know your limits as long as they’re not avoidances.

Be leary of writers who spend a lot of time trying to protect their work. It’s only moving through you to begin with.

Be leary of writers who do more reading than writing. Or who are always doing conferences. True seeking is most often solitary.


Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts

12 Responses to Daily Tips for Writers

  1. *I knew I was a writer LONG before I had a computer. It is a major part of my identity( when people ask who I am it is one of the first two things I say). Being sure about that identity helps during the hard times.
    The standing in front of the mirror and affirming makes me think of my father. Everyday he would stand in front of a mirror and say “You handsome devil” and it worked for him. He was both of those things.;-)
    * I totally agree about writer’s block. It is bologna. Writers block is another name for ‘I am prematurely judging what I write and by doing that I decide that what I am writing isn’t valuable and so I stop myself’.

    I could say more but I have writing to do. Great post. Keep the helpful hints coming!:-)

    • lauramunson

      Most of us could benefit from the “you handsome devil” bit!!! I LOVE that. Affirmations work. When I’m feeling really low, I make myself say five things I like about myself. It’s torture. And I find myself talking myself out of each one, but try to steer the course. Everyone should try this! ox LBR. Laura

      • Laurie Szymanski

        Five things I like about Laura Munson
        1. She in not getting a big head about becoming way popular
        2. She is really loveable and approachable
        3. She created beautiful memories for her children by spending time with them-the best gift
        4. She has given us an example of how to love someone unconditionally who was being an mmm (I am pretty conservative so fill it in. )
        5. Her novels are splendiferous already.

        • lauramunson

          Laurie, that was so sweet of you to do. I aws actually lying in bed this morning not being very successful with the name five things you like about yourself thing so this made me smile! re#1: 20 years of rejection has me nothing more than eternally humble. If I have my five minutes of fame, I’ll use it to help people know that they can persevere and find fulfillment, no matter what’s going on in their lives. It’s all in letting go. I’m working on a new novel, so we’ll see if it meets your “splendiferous.” I really like it though…yrs. Laura

  2. I’ve been appreciating the tips — look forward to them. Thanks for your lovely thoughts. -Susan

  3. This is wonderful. I hope you keep posting these here on your blog as Twitter is beyond me, almost like another language.

    I may use these for my students in you don’t mind.

    I like your advice, “Find something physical that requires the same kind of awareness.” That’s where riding my horse comes into play. As soon as my mind wanders she wanders. And making circles is more physically complicated, at least with this mare, than it looks.

    I’m still back on what you wrote about social media and writing. Some of the changes–the blowing up of the old dream of getting an agent, selling your book to a publisher, developing a literary life–have been disheartening. It’s like the bar has been raised higher and higher. I don’t know what to make of I’ve got a blog ready but haven’t taken the leap because I’m afraid to put work out there without editing or waiting. I’m afraid no one will come to my party.

    Right now I’m musing about Tom Little’s death in Afghanistan, about what made him work for thirty years in a country where he’d see no success at least in typical evangelical terms (souls notched on his belt, or people going forward at an altar call). But he was an evangelical, he believed in going into all the world to preach the gospel, but went to a country where he could not preach. I think about this, about what his wife said, “it’s what Christians do.”

    I’ve been called to write, and yet have felt silenced by all these deep changes, and year after year of very close, but no, rejections. But publication isn’t what matters, being faithful to the call, to one’s nature, is what matters.

    Well, those are my thoughts. Thank you so much for your books. I so hope some of those close but no, novels are reconsidered, because now you do have an audience. And I wouldn’t mind you’re being quiet on this social media stuff, so you can write that next book.

    Blessings and all good things, Katie

    • lauramunson

      Katie– me too on the horses. It’s what balances it all out. Requires the same awareness as writing, just in my body. I started this blog last year because I felt like no one was going to ever come “to my party” too, and so…well…I started my own “party.” I’m going to talk about this at 6:00 MST in 45 minutes on my live chat. Stop on by. I have an amazing life coach who will be there to help. I had it in my mind that it was impossible to get published, and that was getting in my way. When I changed my mind or my “story” everything changed! More soon I hope. yrs. Laura and yes PLEASE feel free to share with your students! I want to help writers so deeply

      • Sorry for the grammar skips…I do hope to show up for your life coach. I hear you on the story and that may well be the key for me. I need to sit down and imagine what it would be like if I were published. I wrote about what it was like for a woman to move to a farm. If it couldn’t happen in real life it would be fun to imagine it. And now my husband and I returned to a farm (we both grew up on one). The story is nothing short of miraculous. And this farm, like the imagined one, is close to a Standardbred farm, and rail road tracks and in those first months someone offered me a grey thoroughbred mare, just like in the novel. (I didn’t spring for the Thoroughbred. Instead found my way to a couple Fjords, also horses I imagined into my life by writing a kids book about a girl who got a Fjord, because it was fun to imagine.)

        Well, that’s all I know. “See” you soon.


  4. Laurie Szymanski

    Five things I liked about myself today
    1. I took a walk and watched a shooting star-the best kind of entertainment!
    2. I made killer blueberry muffins for my family
    3. I did a great job at being in the moment and practicing my “gaps” and my husband started sharing his business concerns with and kissed me this morning
    4. I called a couple of friends to encourage them and let them know I was thinking about them(compassion)
    5. I’m making plans to stop being lonely and reach out to my community-specifically to go to an orientation about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for foster care children which is a passion of mine tomorrow night with my husband.

    • lauramunson

      Laurie! Talk about intentional living. I LOVE your “like list.” I made killer muffins this morning for my family too. Mine were huckleberry though. Your plans to stop being lonely and reach out to your community inspire me. I bet you will find treasure there. yrs. Laura

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