Hello, and thanks for checking out part three of my “What I Learned by…” series, where I’ve been taking a weekly look at a non-novel-writing-related form of writing I’ve done and evaluated its effect on my fiction. I’ve already looked at writing children’s books and poetry, and this week I’m going to take a look at what I’m doing right this minute: article writing. I’ve been writing articles pretty constantly since I first got a job as a content creator at Comic Booked.com in 2012, and now it’s something that I can do pretty easily several times a week. I find it more organized and laid back than fiction, and therefore easier to pump out, and because of that I’ve noticed a healthy change in my own writing lifestyle. Here are some of the specifics:
1. Keep researching. When writing a novel, it’s really easy to do all of your research at the start and then decide that you’re done researching and that now is the time for writing. While writing, you never look up or check out further research materials because you feel like that part of the process is already done and would be a waste of time. While it is true that you should focus primarily on drafting your novel at this point, it is crucial that you at least keep an eye out for more information on whatever you’re writing about. Join a society or sign up for a newsletter on your topic–that way you don’t have to keep actively searching for more information but still keep learning. At this point, I am always listening for things that could help me and others finish novels. Just this morning I bookmarked a Kickstarter that is supposed to help writers overcome writers’ block, and I plan on writing about it over the next few days! I wasn’t looking for it, but when I saw it I knew there was a possibility of it being helpful material. And it is!
2. Make everything matter. Use every part of the buffalo. I can work almost any topic into something that could help you finish your novel: piano practice, knitting, football, whatever you want. And I have all the more content because I’ve learned to apply every part of my life to this niche. You can definitely do the same with your novel. Spend some time observing your own emotions, your surroundings, and your conversations with other. Pay attention to how it feels when you go to bed after a long day or when you receive heartbreaking news for the first time. Everything you experience can be great material for your novel, if written about in the right way! It can make your characters much more human and your settings more believable.
3. Don’t wait for the muse. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me. I have to write 2500 words for my next kids’ book, 1667 words for NaNoWriMo and I very well might possibly be taking on the position of moderator for Chapter 19 of the Grammowrimo book this year. I have more than enough excuses to not be working on this article right now, and to be honest, I don’t even really feel like writing this–at least not compared to rocking out steampunk in NaNoWriMo. I know what it’s like to be too busy and too uninspired to want to write anything, but I’ve already decided that I really want to keep a fairly regular and frequent schedule for this site. I can pump out a few hundred words here just to keep it alive until the chaos is over! The truth is, writing doesn’t need inspiration. If you can learn to write without inspiration entirely, well, you’re probably as good as published.
I’ve become a much more dedicated and consistent writer since I first took on article writing two and a half years ago. It might not be my big passion, but it’s taught me how to write and write well better than perhaps any of my college courses, as helpful as several of them were. So… time for you and me to both get cracking on those novels, then! Keep up that writing, and feel free to share your own tips in the comments section below!