The fall season brings many wonderful things to our lives. With the cold air that sweeps through changing leaves and the festive buzz that starts to hum through our collective consciousness, the end to another year brings a lot of writing lessons with it.
Here are 6 takeaways you can use to improve your writing this autumn.
Slow Down: As the weather gets colder and our lives outside of writing get busier, it’s important to remember the lesson of the leaves: slow down your growth and let things fall as they may. While it may seem counterproductive, growth doesn’t always mean crushing your word count goals. As writers we grow in other ways too. Like in technique, through learning and reading the works of others. By having our work critiqued, by taking our time to correct what needs fixing, and to grow from our mistakes. Taking time to slow down allows for reflection, introsection, and realignment of our goals with our authentic self. It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves, “Why am I creating?”. You may find the answer differs to what you’ve been working towards.
Appreciate The Details: We often forget to appreciate the little things, especially if we’re focusing on lofty goals or working on long-term projects (like writing a book). It can lead to feelings of frustration, like we’re wading through peanut butter, and can even leave us ready to quit altogether. During fall when life naturally fills up with holiday to-do’s it’s even more likely that we’ll feel dissatisfied. With writing contest NaNoWriMo putting pressure on the concept of success via word count, it’s easy to compare ourselves to other writers- and beat ourselves up when we don’t think we measure up. It’s times like this that we need to adopt a new perspective. Appreciating small things, like tiny leaves turning red, the smell of pumpkin candles, and the taste of pumpkin spice can help ground you in the present and give you a much-needed break. Remember to reflect on how far you’ve come and pat yourself on the back for those accomplishments.
Find A Cozy Writing Space: The upside to colder weather is all the warm and cozy items that bring joy throughout the season. If you’re feeling restless or uninspired by your current writing routine (or lack thereof), now is the time to shake things up and move to a new writing space. This technique is the equivalent of a bear finding a cozy place to settle down for hibernation. Gather your softest blankets, put on your favorite holiday sweater, fuzzy socks, and pour a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate. Embrace the hygge vibes and curl up with a good book to help revive your creative energies. Keep the motivation going by diving straight into writing post-reading session.
More Reading Time: The greatest upside to not being able to go outside is that you are more likely to crack open that book that’s been collecting dust on your bookshelf all summer. Reading is the best teacher when it comes to writing. Use the time you have this winter wisely- read a book outside of your comfort zone, something written by an expert in your genre, one that’s written badly, and a technical book geared towards writers. All of these will help you hone your craft. Bonus, try reading through different mediums like Ebook or Audiobook to further your understanding of how you can publish.
Indulge Your Childish Whims: It‘s okay to have fun! We all love the holidays because it brings out our inner child. Whether that’s through holiday traditions like drinking hot chocolate, toasting s‘mores over a bonfire, dressing up for Halloween, or through watching scary movies these memories are precious. Better yet they provide inspiration for stories- directly, if you’re writing a holiday-themed novel or indirectly through the creative energy they bring. Having fun and being creative are the essence of creating a novel. By indulging your sillier side, you’ll find you’ll have more story ideas pop into your mind for when you need them.
Challenge Yourself With Writing Contests: Writing contests are a common occurrence during the fall/winter. NaNoWriMo is a month-long contest where writers attempt to write a 50k novel in November. There are also many calls for submissions for various literary magazines and blogs looking for writers to submit their work. If you’re feeling restless and bored by winter blues, why not challenge yourself to a test of wit and skills? By participating in these events it opens the door to new experiences. You’ll meet other writers, have a chance at publication, and gain a few more insights about yourself as an author.
Fall is an opportunity to make the most of our writing. Whether you’re in need of inspiration or looking for a challenge, it’s time to reflect, improve, and hone your writing talents.
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