Jo Middleton’s Top Tips for Writing

Writing can be a great way to explore creative ideas, take time out for yourself, and even process difficult emotions or situations, but how many of us manage to make time to write regularly?

Whether you’re certain you have a novel in you, or just love the idea of switching on your creative brain for a few minutes every day, here’s how to make writing a habit that sticks:

Set a timer

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for aspiring writers is the simple act of putting pen to paper. We worry about what we’re going to write, or how long we should write for, or whether we’ve got the right pen…

Shove all of those worries aside, set a timer for 10 minutes and just WRITE. Write whatever comes into your head, however silly it feels, just don’t stop, not even for a minute. The idea here isn’t to create anything spectacular, it’s just to push past that initial blank page.

Write badly

Okay, so this might not be your ultimate goal, but it’s a great approach to have when you’re building a creative writing habit, as it frees you up from the pressure to be perfect. If you’re really honest with yourself about what holds you back when it comes to writing, chances are that ‘not being good enough’ features pretty high on the list.

Taking how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you are out of the equation can be very liberating – you could even try writing badly deliberately!

Free your imagination

Many people struggle with coming up with story ideas, so if you’re not sure where to begin, how about starting with something you do know and going from there? Take an event from your past, something that happened to you as a child maybe, or a memorable day of some kind, and rewrite it.

Start small if it helps, by changing some details or adding other characters, and gradually take the story further and further as you become more confident. How might the event have gone differently? What would have happened if you’d made different choices?

Make yourself a prompt jar

This is an easy way to get yourself started when you’re stuck for ideas – simply find a jar or box of some kind and start collecting writing prompt ideas as you think of them. Every time you want to write something, pick out an idea and off you go!

It could be anything, from writing a letter to an imaginary friend to rewriting the opening page of a famous book in a different style.

Join a writing group

Being part of a writing group is a great way to hold yourself accountable to a new habit, share ideas and inspiration, and get feedback on your work. It could be an informal group with friends, or a more structured course where you’ll benefit from the expertise of a creative writing tutor too.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do to kickstart your writing in 2023, then join Write MORE Every Day, a brand new, six week creative writing course running at Taunton Brewhouse this January and February.

You’ll get to learn new skills and techniques, share your writing with others, and enjoy opportunities such as attending a show in the theatre and writing a review for the website.

Jo Middleton is a local writer and blogger, best known for her award-winning Slummy Single Mummy blog, and the new course leader for Write MORE Every Day.

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