Advice, Fiction, Motivation, Scene, Tips, Writing

One useless writing tip!

Last month at a critique meeting, I recounted my experience with a writing tip I’d read. Some famous author (I’m bad with names) said that he always ended his writing day in the middle of a sentence. For him, it was a jumpstart into the next day’s writing session. For me, it was sheer frustration.

I sat with my fingers poised on the keyboard for a half-hour trying to recapture the words I had intended to write. “As he ran back toward home, he strained to make out the stairway  … “ Hmmm. I read it again. And again. I knew, of course, this was Jalal running on the beach, and I knew why he was looking for the stairway. But how had I intended to end that particular sentence? And what was the next line meant to be? In the end, I deleted that sentence and “meditated” to re-visualize the scene. Eventually, I saw that Jalal doesn’t see Renee on the stairway because she’s descended to the beach. He doesn’t notice this and runs by her. She calls out, startles him, he turns around. Then, as the whole scene unfolded, I typed away, irritated I had wasted those thirty minutes on a half-finished sentence. Now, no matter what, I not only finish the sentence, I finish the scene before I end my writing day.

Obviously, that author’s writing tip is not useless for him, nor likely for many others, it just didn’t work for me. Have you tried any writing tips that didn’t work for you?

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44 thoughts on “One useless writing tip!”

  1. I’d heard of that tip, though I’d never tried it myself, but I think I would be just like you. I’d get in front of that screen the next day and not remember what on earth I wanted to say. One thing that I have heard a lot about, is to write a type of plot summary, chapter by chapter, and to get it all organised before you start actually writing a story, but for me, this would never work as the story only unfolds as I start experiencing what my characters are feeling. I could never just “invent” something for them to do out of the blue, they sort of take over and write the story themselves.


    1. I can’t do that summary/outline either. I start with a situation, and though I have an idea how it will end, it usually goes somewhere else as I write.

      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment.


  2. Ha! My favourite ignorable tip is the one about getting up an hour earlier than usual and writing before doing anything else – including dressing, washing, having breakfast or cleaning your teeth. Quite apart from the lack of understanding I would get from the cats and dogs whose priorities, they would argue, took precedence, I can’t imagine focusing on the creative process with a blood sugar set on ‘murderous’ and an appearance that would frighten the horses should I need to answer the door. No! In order to write effectively, I need to be fed, watered, and, if not quite dressed for work, at least pointing forwards and fully covered with an arrangement of opaque and reliable fabrics.
    So what works? Well, fish do it for me. And birds. And sitting in the garden with scrap paper and a pencil. Lovely!


    1. Oh, I’m laughing because that tip almost describes what I do! I get up at 5:30, make tea, iron my husband’s shirt and pack his lunch, but all the time I’m thinking about what I’ll write the minute he heads out the door. Often, it’s a poem (dawn is so inspiring to me) and sometimes it’s the beginnings of a story, carried over from a dream I was having when the alarm went off. My creativity fades as the day wears on. THAT’s when I remember to wash up and get dressed. 😀

      What works for you, sounds lovely though I usually sit outside to read and think.


  3. One that doesn’t work for me: Just write the whole first draft without analyzing anything. Don’t stop. Just write.

    I’m analytical by nature, and honestly, my stories are better for it when I analyze as I go along. And I do stop to research or flesh something out as I need to. It works for me.


    1. I love reading different points of views. Believe it or not, this is exactly what worked for me. I even tried NanoWrimo last year and ended up with a second novel that is good enough to finish. However, I must admit that I have learnt to slow down, stop, read what I am writing, and try to fix it as I go along, instead of saying “I’ll fix that on the second draft.” – IF I have that thought, then I know it’s something that has to be sorted NOW rather than later.


  4. This tip is one that I had not tried to use. Since I always go back and read the previous chapter before I write, I don’t find it necessary to leave a defined place to pick back up. I also try to write full scene or even chapter at a time. Sometimes this means sitting at the desk for an entire day, but somehow it just doesn’t seem right to leave a chapter or even a sentence unfinished.


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