One of the tips we hear frequently when we’re starting to write is to “just write.” I remember wondering, and maybe you have too, what does that look like? What does a “real” writer do when she’s “just writing”?
Today let’s look at 5 tips for how to “just write.”
Write when you’re at your best
Give your writing your best, even it’s only 15 minutes. When is your energy up? When does creativity stir? Make a choice to use some of your best energy for the priority of writing. If God has called you to write, or even if you’re not sure at this point but you think He’s called you to write, honor your gift by making it a priority.
I am a morning person with lots of creative energy when I wake up. So, when I first started writing, I would get up to write an hour before my preschooler and first-grader got up – and yes, sometimes that meant brewing my coffee at 4 a.m. Some days I wrote in my journal, some days on my computer. But what was consistent was the time – two mornings, getting up early, pouring my coffee, and dedicating the best of me to writing.
Lysa TerKeurst in The Best Yes addresses her inability to find time to write until she made the intentional choice to do so. She figured out that in her week she had 3.5 hours of free time. “I took control of those hours. I grabbed them before anyone else could. I dedicated those hours each week to that thing I knew God had woven into the DNA of my heart,” she explains.
Talk it out
Many people, especially speakers, are “verbal processors.” The best way I can define a verbal processor is that this is a person who figures things out as they talk. So, a verbal processor might discover that talking about an idea with someone else helps her free up ideas before she puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard,
If you’re a verbal processor, you might want to find a friend who will listen and give you input. Or find a writing buddy, someone on the same path as you, who would also benefit from this talking process. Proverbs 31 Ministries offers an incredible writing service called Compel. Along with countless writing tips, their Facebook page provides a place to connect with fellow writers.
I’m a nonverbal processor, an internal processor. This type of person does a whole lot of thinking and thinking before ever writing. I don’t need to talk to anyone else, but I do “talk” to the pages of my journal. Sometimes these scribbles make it to published work. A journal is a good place to shake out the dirt and dross to uncover the gold in your writing.
Write and write
Don’t censor. Don’t edit. Let it flow. You may be surprised where your writing takes you. And when the ideas are not flowing, write anyway. Write about your passions; what makes you mad or sad; what do you want to tell your friends; what do you wish you could tell your friends or family! What would you like to change in life? What are you learning from the Lord in this season of your life?
Maybe set a time goal – you’ll write for 30 minutes before you can do something else. Maybe a word count goal for the day. There will be a time for editing – just not right now. For now get words on the paper.
Inviting the Holy Spirit into our writing is a must. If we are writing for the Lord – offering to our readers words of life, hope, encouragement, challenge, and love – then we must be drinking the Living Water. (John 7:38)
End at a good place
This is my favorite tip! When I was writing my first book, I usually aimed to write about 3000 words per writing day, and I would always aim to end in a good place. In other words, I would end my writing in a place where the next time I sat down to write, I would be able easily to pick back up the idea I ended with. I would jot down some thoughts as reminders in a notebook, and then I’d have momentum ready to roll for my next writing time.
I hope these tips help you start your writing journey. Is there are a tip you can put into practice today? This week? What helps you “just write”? I’d love to hear your tips!