Get real: tips for keeping your writing on track

At the moment I’m trying to get inside a demon’s head, and I’m struggling. Some may suggest this is because I’m not a demon. While this point has merit, deep down I already know what the real problem is.

Living the story or ‘method’ writing

You often hear about actors adopting method acting when preparing for and performing a role. Every writer is different, but I find when I’m truly absorbed in writing and developing a story, I start to feel those characters emotions and predicaments.

It’s fair to say that achieving this level of ‘method’ writing, takes commitment. It requires ignoring the world around you to a certain extent and sometimes this just isn’t possible.

Take for example the last few months of my life: I’ve been juggling the usual family and work commitments, but I’ve also been preparing for the release of my new contemporary romance novel, The Boyfriend Sessions, to be released by Momentum on Oct 23. This means I’ve had editing and proofing deadlines in addition to marketing ones. I attended the 2014 RWA conference, spoke on a panel and hosted a stall at the first ever Australian Book Expo, and spoke at another marketing conference. Oh, and I’ve recently co-founded a business focused on helping businesses with content marketing for their WordPress websites called

So I’ve been a little bit busy.

How about you? I bet if you looked back over the last few months you’d realise just how much has been going on in your own life, which begs the question:

How do writers stay connected to their story?

First of all, sometimes I think you just have to accept that life gets crazy and writing regularly is going to be difficult. That’s been me the last few months.

But now that I’m over the hump, I found myself lamenting to one of my beta-readers on the weekend how detached I feel from my current WIP. To the point where perhaps I was thinking about shelving that WIP and starting on another…

Precious creative alert! Warning, warning!

Fortunately I know myself well enough by now to recognise that reason I feel so detached from my story is because I haven’t been living it enough. Personally I find that I need to write most days to stay connected, or every second day. If I let it go for more than two days, that break will start to stretch into a week and before I know it…what was I writing again?

There’s nothing like the present: tips for keeping your writing on track

What works for one writer isn’t going to work for another, but here are some general tips for keeping your writing project on track:

  • Set goals (that suit you). Some writers like word count, others prefer a set time every day to write. For me, I’m going to be setting the goal to write five days a week, minimum 1,000 words each of those days over the coming weeks.
  • Learn to recognise when you’re becoming distanced from your story. If you can, do something about it. Other times you may need to accept it for what it is until the time comes when you can re-connect.
  • Surround yourself with story reminders. I use music a lot, often when I’m cooking or exercising. The tone of the music helps keep my brain on track. I also find watching movies in a similar genre can help. I was watching a re-run of Batman the other week and this prompted a realisation about my villain.
  • Learn to give yourself a break too. You can’t live your story all the time, even if you wanted to. Try to give yourself breathers when you can. Occasionally a day off is the most productive thing you can do. Your writing will be better for it and your family will probably like you more too.

What about you? What techniques do you use to stay connected with your story?


4 Replies to “Get real: tips for keeping your writing on track”

    1. Thanks for stopping by Josh. Yes, reading definitely helps too although if I read something that is too close to the genre I’m writing I find it can cloud my own voice. Meditation is another great one…but I’m not very good at making time to sit still when I’m awake sadly (which I know makes me the perfect candidate!) I also find exercise is great for clearing my head and ruminating on my WIP.

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