Writing a book? Writing a screenplay? Writing a play? Writing a blog? Writing a diary? Good on ya! Writing is tough work. But you’ve got a story to tell.
Lot’s of people start writing something, like the family history, but never get very far. I know how it is. I’ve got a hard drive full of started and abandoned writing projects.
Just recently, though, I made a breakthrough. I finished a 113 page feature length screenplay. It’s called Paradise Goat Ranch. Yes, I did. You can too.
I did it after school and on the weekends. It didn’t take a year, or even months. From start to finish, it took me 8 weeks. I could’ve done it even faster, but I wasn’t using these 5 writing tips I’m going to share with you. Here’s what I learned. In 5 pithy tips.
1. Writers, Write
That sounds kind of obvious. My daughter doesn’t call me “Captain Obvious” because I’m a secret Pirate who swills lots of rum. I often pontificate something really obvious. But in my defense and to help you get that writing project done, I’m just gonna say…
You got to plant your ass in that (chair, bed, stool, ergonomic desk chair) and Write! Every damn day. Or, most days than not.
When I quit farting around and made the effort to write, even just one dang sentence, every day, well, I finished a screenplay. You can too. Finish whatever it is you’re writing, that is.
2. Be God (or Goddess)
When I just let myself tell a story and not worry about the reality, legitimacy, or validity of the story, I got it told. When you write, put your “God Hat” on and create a world, some people, some talking birds, some lizards that turn into chairs or whoever shows up in your story.
When you don’t censor yourself, your story, you may find, like I did, that it’s really fun to make stuff up. If you’re writing something about something that’s real, just write and then check your facts and fill in your references later. It’s called editing. Big deal, everything that’s written gets edited. That’s why God (not you) created editors.
3. Make Deadlines
Find an editor, friend, teacher, mentor, coach (not a spouse or lover, that will just end badly) who will insist you give them pages every week. Give them permission to ridicule you, hit you, or otherwise shame you if you don’t turn in at least 21 pages a week.
That’s three pages a day of writing. Quit whining! I did it and so can you. This worked for me. It took eight weeks instead of six, because Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks were during those eight weeks, and I still got the thing written.
All. The. Way. Done!
Pages, three a day, turn them in to someone, once a week.
4. Don’t Do The Dishes
Make your writing those three (or more, you’re allowed to write more) pages a day the all holy priority of your life. Tell whoever lives in your house with you, that if they care about clean things, like dishes or laundry, they can damn well clean stuff themselves.
If you have kids, get the big ones to clean, if anyone cares. It’s good for them. They can cook too. Also good for them. Bottom line is, those people will be really proud of you when you finish the thing you’re writing. As far as chores go, they just take your maid skills for granted anyway.
If you’re a guy, you can probably embrace this tip easier than the ladies. I’m not sexist, I’ve just lived with guys. Several of them. That’s another post.
5 Write The End, First
Don’t worry about how the story comes to you. If you get the ending first, fine, just write it down. This really helped me and I got bits of the story in different order. I just kept asking, “What do they do now?” or “How will they end up doing that?” and the answers, ideas would just come. It was fun not to worry about having to know everything before I started writing.
Creativity is not a linear experience. Ideas just come at you, all you need to do is catch them and then not be a lazy bum and write them down.
So Write, Already
Those five ideas alone helped me finish Paradise Goat Ranch. As I finish the final editing from the feedback I got at a public reading (yes, people even read it out loud and gave me feedback!) and submit it to screenplay competitions, I’ll post about those experiences too.
Happy writing and if any of these tips was helpful, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it on your social media super networks….then sign off and get to writing!
You’ve got stories to tell.