Author Rebecca Grace (aka Becky Martinez or vice versa) offers some tips on keeping your writing skills sharp. Thanks, Rebecca!
By Becky Martinez (writing as Rebecca Grace)
We all know how important fitness is and that the best way to stay fit is to constantly exercise. Weekend or sporadic workouts can leave you sore or make you want to give up. Writing can be viewed the same way. We need to constantly flex our writing muscles to keep them from growing stale or making the process seem laborious.
For a time after I retired from full time work, I grew lax about writing every day. As a broadcast news writer, I had no choice. I had deadlines to meet. It was great to have time available to do other things. As a result, my writing suffered. What I eventually realized was that I needed to flex my writing muscles.
I discovered the need to establish new writing routines. I needed to constantly work out my writing muscles. These days I get a choice of what I’m writing. It might be a script for a TV series I’m working on, a non-fiction work, my latest suspense book or a blog. The key is that I write every single day for several hours.
If you don’t work on fiction writing, there are other ways to work out your writing muscles. Consider a few things and see what works best but look for opportunities to write:
- Write a blog. This can also help get your name in front of would-be readers. If they read your blogs, they might be more prone to buy your books. Many people ask how to come up with ideas, but they are all around if we just take time to look. Think of what you know about research and pass it on. Readers also love to know what gives a writer ideas or how the writer works.
- Play with your characters. Try a character sketch for your next book. You can either do it as a list or as a couple of paragraphs about the character. You can even describe the person from someone else’s viewpoint.
- Try writing a short-short story. I’ve seen some clever shorts written by authors who just had an idea and wanted to test it. The short story might even turn into your next book.
- Write a descriptive passage about the scene around you. I like this idea because you can always use it later. Write about the weather, feel of the location, the sights and smells or the people around you. That exercise can be useful to sharpen your writing senses.
- Turn research into a non-fiction article. If you’ve been researching a time period, write a paragraph in the eyes of someone visiting that time period from the future or even in the time period itself. Let your imagination wander.
All these ideas are simple and can be useful for keeping your writing muscles well oiled and ready for the next time you need to sit down and write your story.
Rebecca Grace is the pen name for Becky Martinez, a former broadcast journalist who writes romantic suspense and mystery novels for The Wild Rose Press. She is currently working on the latest entry in her Blues series, following the antics of TV anchorwoman Kimberly de la Garza from Blues at 11. Becky also is the co-author of four books on writing with Sue Viders, the Let’s Write a Story series. Their latest book on How to Write Great Villains will be released soon.