To me it was always too easy to say, “Just write and you’ll feel like a writer.” I needed to do other things as well. I needed even to give myself credit for thinking about writing, but that will only take you so far. So here are a few things I did that helped me. They may not help you, but most of them come with little risk of bodily harm so why not try.
Stop Reading Books that Aim to Inspire You to Write
Eventually I realized I was spending a lot of time reading about what I knew I should be doing.
Read Books that Are About Craft
Read books that will get you thinking about what and how you will write, not if. Here are a few I have:
- Narrative Design, by Madison Smartt Bell
- Read Like a Writer, by Francine Prose
- Making Shapely Fiction, by Jerome Stern
- Creating a Spiritual Legacy, by Daniel Taylor
Fill Your Inbox with Emails that Deal with Writing
They may or may not be helpful. You may or may not read them. But if nothing else, seeing them in your inbox is a reminder.
- Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing advice, upcoming classes, news from the world of publishing
- The Writer’s Almanac: Inspiration and information
- Kenyon Review Newsletter and Weekend Reads: Online Content and “Why We Chose It”
- The Review Review: A Wealth of Information and Advice
Take an Online Class or Workshop
There are good things and bad about these workshops. I’ve taken ones through Gotham and Mid-American Review (which, as far as I can tell, don’t run them anymore).
- Gotham Writers has a variety of workshops covering different types of writing, from memoir to food writing.
- One Story is a great literary magazine with occasional workshops.
- Barrelhouse is another lit mag that runs workshops.
Find a Writing Conference
Go to a writing conference. Hang around. Watch. Learn.
What to have something in common with your favorite writers? Easy. Framing a few of them like I have is optional.