Indie Author Weekly

067: 9 ideas for how to practice writing

July 07, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 68
Indie Author Weekly
067: 9 ideas for how to practice writing
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Indie Author Weekly
067: 9 ideas for how to practice writing
Jul 07, 2020 Episode 68
Sagan Morrow

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share a few ideas for how to practice writing. 

Writing is a skill we can all, always, get better at. The best way to improve is to keep practicing! If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in the field, the way Malcolm Gladwell explains in his excellent book Outliers, then it stands to reason that the more writing we can do, the better we’ll get.  

With that in mind, here are a few ideas for how to practice writing to improve your skills at it… TUNE IN to this episode to get all 9 ideas!  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share a few ideas for how to practice writing. 

Writing is a skill we can all, always, get better at. The best way to improve is to keep practicing! If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in the field, the way Malcolm Gladwell explains in his excellent book Outliers, then it stands to reason that the more writing we can do, the better we’ll get.  

With that in mind, here are a few ideas for how to practice writing to improve your skills at it… TUNE IN to this episode to get all 9 ideas!  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share a few ideas for how to practice writing. 

Writing is a skill we can all, always, get better at. The best way to improve is to keep practicing! If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in the field, the way Malcolm Gladwell explains in his excellent book Outliers, then it stands to reason that the more writing we can do, the better we’ll get. 

With that in mind, here are a few ideas for how to practice writing to improve your skills at it…

Idea #1: Try writing for a genre or in a style you have never done before. 

If you generally write fiction, try non-fiction. If you usually write horror, try romance. If you prefer writing for adults, try writing for children. If you are usually all about writing descriptions, try writing a screenplay. Mix it up and try something totally new to get out of your comfort zone. 

My day-to-day writing includes all kinds of things, like romance novels, content for online course lessons, writing podcast scripts for episodes here on Indie Author Weekly, writing blog posts and newsletters for my freelance clients, putting together guest blog posts featuring productivity tips, writing weekly behind-the-scenes emails to my SaganMorrow.com subscribers, and so on.

Idea #2: Experiment with writing different lengths. 

Take the National Novel Writing Month challenge and write a 50,000-word novel in one month… or, try writing a series of quick, six-word stories. Shift from writing a manuscript of several hundred pages to focusing on Twitter-sized, 140-character pieces of writing. 

For example, I love writing shorter 100-word pieces of content for Twitter and Instagram, and then longer blog posts that might be 500 - 1,000 words, and my current romance novel, Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series, is coming up on 40,000 words. If you want more details on that work in progress, visit SaganMorrow.com/books for the synopsis.

Idea #3: Prepare an outline and summary for a story. 

This type of organizational writing and summarizing can be challenging if you’re not used to it, but it’s an important craft! Plus, the more you do this, the better prepared you’ll be for publishing and marketing your next book.

Get some fascinating insights and tips for how four different authors outlined their books in Episode 47 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Idea #4: Spend 15 minutes free writing. 

Sit down at the computer or grab a pen and paper... and just write. Don’t worry about if your sentence doesn’t make sense or if the content is silly; just write and see what comes out. Free writing and stream of consciousness writing can be a great tool to develop your voice and style as a writer. 

I love doing this as part of my weekly business audits, which you can learn more about in my free business planning retreat workshop at SaganMorrow.com/retreat. But with free writing, you can also do any kind of journaling or storytelling. 

Idea #5: Edit your work. 

Editing is a different skill than writing, but editing your own work can help you to see where your writing can be improved. You’ll be a better writer, the more that you edit and revise your own work.

Idea #6: Do some collaborative writing. 

Write an article or story with another author. What’s fun about this way of writing is that it introduces you to a whole new style of writing. You can also talk with the other author about why you are each writing in these ways, what you like and dislike about your writing styles, etc. (And when I say “author” here, I don’t mean that it necessarily has to be a published author—a friend who likes to write will do just fine!) 

Idea #7: Re-tell a story that you know in your own words. 

Write your own version of a classic fairytale. Write a different ending to one of your favourite books. Doing this will give you the opportunity to get to know familiar characters in a new way, and think about plot and voice in a new light. 

Idea #8: Learn new words. 

Broaden your vocabulary so that your writing can expand and evolve. Open up the dictionary at random and see what new words you come across, for example, and then try writing a short story or an article that includes that new word in a few different contexts, so that you retain the meaning of the new word you’ve just learned.

Idea #9: Create a character analysis. 

Either create a new character and conduct an analysis of them, or work off of an existing character (from your own writing or someone else’s). Get as deep into the character as possible, taking into consideration what they would say or do if you spent the day with them, and where they will be in 10 years, and how they would react to shocking news. This will help you get out of your head and into the character’s.

You can get an exercise to work on character development in Episode 17 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast, plus a list of writing prompts on the “secret” version of this podcast at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.

To recap, those ideas for how to practice writing include…

  1. Try writing for a genre or in a style you have never done before. 
  2. Experiment with writing different lengths. 
  3. Prepare an outline and summary for a story. 
  4. Spend 15 minutes free writing. 
  5. Edit your work. 
  6. Do some collaborative writing.
  7. Re-tell a story that you know in your own words. 
  8. Learn new words. 
  9. Create a character analysis. 

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it! And you can send me a message on either of those platforms if you have requests for future episode topics, too. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. You can also submit your questions or topic ideas anonymously at SaganMorrow.com/question

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and subscribe and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support

By the way, you can access complete word-for-word transcripts of this episode and all past episodes, plus sample chapters of my books and a few other bonuses and goodies, on the “secret” version of this podcast. Get access to all of that at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.