Practical Tips

Some practical tips to remember.

Always have notebooks handy where ever you go and always check your pen has ink. Take a spare pen if possible – or have a note taking app on your phone.

Back up. Back up back up back up. Back up on a flash drive AND onto a cloud drive. Have three copies floating around and back up every single time you write. If you are in a long writing session back up every hour.

If you have only a hand written copy, find a way to back up. Scan. Photocopy. Take a picture.

Keep a list of characters and important plot points nearby where you can look up and reference them. Otherwise you will forget a character’s name, or that important plot thread you meant to resolve. I have a poster up on my wall with them all written in, and I keep a photo of it on my phone.

If you use research, keep a note of where you got the research from. You will want to refer back to it. There will be information you won’t know you need until you write. Bookmark the websites you use.

When writing dialogue, stand up and walk around and say it out loud. If you trip over the words, if you find them awkward to say, your dialogue isn’t right.

Keep your laptop battery charged. And your phone battery if you write on that. If you write on paper, make sure you have a lot of your favourite pens. You don’t want to have to stop working because you’ve run out of paper at 3am (you and I both know you write at 3am).

Keep a notebook and pen, or a voice recorder by your bed. You will have amazing ideas just as you drift off to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and you won’t remember them.

Finally, take a day off once in a while. Personally I do this once a week. You need a rest, you need to reset your batteries, you need the inspiration watching or reading something different or just being somewhere else can give you. And try to stick to this at the beginning, because at the end you will write like a demon and won’t be able to stop for anything.

And finally – try to connect to other writers, whether online or in real life. This isn’t just to discuss ideas, though that’s good too. This is just to reassure yourself that all weird stuff you do as a writer isn’t that unusual and you not a complete weirdo.

I hope that helps.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

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