6 Unconventional Writing Tips by Steph Beth Nickel

GET SOME SLEEP

This is a case of do what I say, not what I do. (I’m writing this post at 11:36 PM the day it’s supposed to go live.)

Most of us think more clearly and are far more productive if we’ve had adequate sleep. For some, that means getting eight hours every night. For others, six or seven may do nicely. Consistency, they say, is most important.

On ikeepsafe.org, they recommend that we “unplug two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.”

No screen-time for two hours before bed? Hmm, I wonder …

TAKE A HIKE

A hike. A bike ride. A swim. Whatever works for you.

Funny that getting enough sleep and getting enough exercise have the same results: clarity of thought and increased productivity.

And as writers, when we’re out and about, there’s no telling where inspiration will hit. We may come back from a run with an idea for a blog post, an article, even a book.

LEAVE THE NOTEBOOK, TAKE THE CAMERA

Writers are often encouraged to keep a notebook (or smartphone) handy at all times. Of course we want to keep track of those writing ideas when they hit, but we don’t always have to do so with words.

We all know the cliché about the picture and the 1,000 words.

Trust me on this one. If you take the time to look at life through the lens of a camera, you may be surprised at just what you discover. (I’m partial to my Canon DSLR. Through-the-lens viewing cuts down on distractions.)

IGNORE GOOD ADVICE

Not all good advice, mind you. But remember what works wonders for one person may not work for another.

Consider for a moment the countless approaches to writing or self-editing or marketing or whatever.

Try a variety of methods (or develop your own). When you find the one(s) that work best for you, don’t let someone talk you out of it. Who knows? It may be just what they need to try as well.

KEEP YOUR DAY JOB

Many of us would love to be full-time authors. And some of us are. However, not all of us have the opportunity—at least not yet.

I know one writer who considers her nine-to-five responsibilities her “evil day job.” Hopefully, you don’t feel the same.

As well as making a living, your day job can provide inspiration for your writing. (And, of course, as Christians, we have the opportunity to be salt and light wherever we are.)

SIT, STAY

When it does come time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we must be disciplined.

Countless distracts vie for our attention. So we must practice staying in our seat and cranking out x number of words—or working for x number of hours.

Use a separate computer, one without access to the internet. Set up a place to write where you do nothing else. Develop a pre-writing ritual that gets you into the right frame of mind to persevere.

Discover what works for you so you can sit, stay—and write!

Brenda and Stephanie 2Steph Beth Nickel is the coauthor of Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. They are currently working on a follow-up book, Still Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other things, Steph is a freelance writer and editor. You can connect with her at stephbethnickel@gmail.com … on her Facebook author page … or on Twitter (Photo Credit of Steph and the fun-loving Brenda J. Wood: Belinda Burston)

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