Monday 23 December 2019

Writing Hacks - The Creative Process


This is a topic that has been on my list for a while, and I've just never really gotten around to doing it. I usually see writing hacks covered on Authotube, from channels like Alexa Donne and others. For those who don't know, and I don't think there are many, a writing hack is something that makes the whole process easier, usually coming from someone who has done this before and found that it works for them. I thought that since I have a few of my own, I would share them with you all, as well as open the comments up for anyone wanting to offer their own writing hacks.

As I've said, writing hacks come in all shapes and sizes, like the whole idea that writing in Comic Sans can help you beat writer's block and edit easier. I've not tried that one, but I've heard that it can be really successful. There are an abundance of them online, and I've got a few of my own that I've found over the years really helps me both write my drafts, but also edit and such later.

This might sound like a silly idea, but hear me out. I've been keeping a writing log for a good number of years now. I've gone through one a half so far, and in it I record which book I'm writing, how much I wrote, the date I started the book, the date I finish and such. It really does help me looking back over during edits at just what I managed, and how I managed it. It can tell me why a chapter seems choppy, if it was written over two or three days instead of one. It can tell me why the words sound tired when I've squeezed in two chapters that day instead of the usual one. All of this helps me massively at both tracking my output, but also what kind of day it was. It helps me see at a glance how productive I've been too, which can be a huge boost on days when I feel like I'm doing nothing.

I know that a lot of people are aware of these programs. For a while I used Naturally Dragon Speaking and it worked wonderfully for me. Now I generally avoid it during drafting, but I do use it to help with editing. It allows me to hear the flow of sentences, and also pick up on any errors, whether that's typos or just clunky words. It's been an amazing tool for me, even though it's a robotic voice, it allows me to hear my words and reading them aloud to myself might work, but I just can't seem to manage it, though I know a lot of writers who do this instead.

This isn't so much a hack, as something that I've found works well for me, and that's making sure that the tools you use for writing - whether that be a pen and paper, or a keyboard, tablet, computer, whatever - but to have those tools be the kind that you enjoy using. Recently I found the most perfect keyboard for me, and I was super excited to finally be able to use it. It came just at the start of NaNo and I will say it's a dream to type on. Now for some people this is going to be a certain kind of pen, or notepad, or an app on their tablet or phone or whatnot, but find tools that you enjoy using and that do what you need them to and you'll find it easier to write.

One big things writers suffer from is the fact that the majority of our work is done sitting. I mean all of my life is done sitting, but let's not digress! This point simply means making sure that your chair is comfortable, the lighting is good, the room is worn, you have what you need within reach. Some people have a specific routine they go through before writing. I don't, but that's just me. So if you find that sitting by the fire in winter keeps you warm and typing, find a way to incorporate that into your routine.

I had the caveat of not too much comfort, just because I feel like if you're able, you need to be up and stretching every so often. That way your muscles don't get too tight and cramped, and it gives your hands and wrists a break. So go for comfort, but not the kind where you're going to want to never move again.

Now this is one I've not used too much yet, but there are apps that will help minimise the level of distraction your phone and such will be. There's a forest app where so long as you leave your phone alone while you work,  you grow a tree. Collect enough points and then you get a tree planted for real. These are all amazing and will make sure that your focus stays on the words and not on social media.

So there we have it, my five writing hacks and how they've worked for me. If you have any, leave them in the comments below and together we can get writing all the more easier for everyone!

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