The word “philosophy” means to be a friend of wisdom; to become wiser. In this context, a philosophy of writing refers to understanding and reflecting on your writing, with the goal of improving it. This inevitably entails questioning possible preconceptions and changing your mind.
Let’s start with one such assumption: What is the first image you conjure up when you hear words such as “writer,” “author,” or “writing”? Likely, you would give a description such as “a person using a typewriter,” “a notepad and a pencil,” or “a person using a laptop.”
These are all perfectly valid and understandable responses. We often use such images to convey the concept of writing—indeed, on this very page you are now reading. The thing is, such images focus on writing as an activity, not as a process. In other words, they emphasize those parts of textual production that are related to practicalities: outlining, typing, or editing.
In a way, approaching writing only as an activity—that is, focusing only on its practical aspects—conditions us to forget about what precedes these practical stages. We often talk about the right time to write or how much one should write per day, and for good reason: These are crucial aspects of writing. But they’re not the only ones.Continue reading
Writing during a vacation might initially sound like a great idea: Having a lot of free time, being in a relaxed environment, and enjoying unusual settings must be great for inspiration. And inspiration is good for writing, most authors would agree. But are writing and vacationing really compatible?
As with virtually anything else related to writing, it’s all a matter of balance. There are neither evident answers, nor easy solutions.
For many authors, combining writing and vacationing might connote an image of someone dragging a laptop to the beach, then ignoring everything and everyone around them to focus on writing.
There are several reasons why this might be unproductive, if not fail altogether: Most typically, it would involve ignoring the people you have traveled with. Few things can increase tension more rapidly than ignoring your friend, family, or partner during a vacation.
But even if you’re vacationing alone, this kind of head-on immersion in writing can cause a lot of stress. You’re basically ordering yourself to be productive, setting high expectations: “You’re on vacation, with tons of free time,” the little voice in your head keeps nagging you, “therefore, you must write a lot. No excuses.”
Such scenarios are recipes for disaster. In most cases, you could end up fighting with your loved ones and produce substandard work—if any at all.
But there is good news: It doesn’t have to be this way!Continue reading
As a writer, you know that if you want to get any writing done on a regular basis, a writing routine is in order. As much as we would love to sit down at our writing workspaces only when we are feeling a burst of inspiration, that’s a good way to miss deadlines and let projects stagnate.
But what should we do when we feel like it’s our routine that’s stagnating? What if your writing routine is something that you drag yourself through as just one more of your daily obligations?
Maybe you’re not enjoying your hour of writing at the coffee shop as much as you used to, or you find yourself glancing at the clock after every few sentences you get down. These are not the circumstances that foster productive, creative writing time.
Luckily, there’s much that you can do about that. I have four tips for livening up your boring writing routine.
You’re fiercely committed to being the best writer you can be. But sustaining that level of commitment amid the chaos of life can be hard.
Let’s face it. On top of writing, we have responsibilities. It might be an urgent professional obligation. Maybe it’s a family matter or even just a creative slowdown you can’t explain.
When your craft is a creative pursuit like writing, the path to consistent improvement—on a schedule you can maintain—isn’t always clear.
Fortunately, there are small steps we can take every day to remove the resistance and improve our writing.