ACW

ACW

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Improving My Writing...

Many of you may have seen a blog posted on the ACW Facebook group page earlier this week about increasing word count (in the writer’s case from about 2k to 10k a day). I've found Rachel Aaron's methods useful, but I've also been encouraged to look at what adds to my own writing process - not just what I write, but how I write.

From a faith perspective, I consider my writing as an act of worship, and I want to use not only my gifts but my time wisely. The article got me thinking not just about how I can increase my productivity, but about how I can be obedient by writing.

Here's are the things I've come up with that improve my work - in both volume and quality.

Coffee

We all laugh, don’t we, at the stereotypical pictures of writers drinking copious amounts of coffee to meet a deadline. But for me, coffee denotes something else. My first cup of coffee marks the start of my writing time as apart from everything else. Not only does it demarcate that time from the rest of my life, but it affords me the time to formulate my plan for that session. I count it as the first cup of coffee one might get at an office before sitting down at a desk to work. 

Paper

When it comes to writing I, like most, need my laptop to get things into a shape for other people. That said, before I even go near my keyboard, I write down in a notebook exactly what it is I’m planning on writing. For me, there is nothing to replace sitting with a mechanical pencil and A4 paper (yes, I’m picky!) and setting out what I’m aiming to achieve that session. With an outline beside me, not only do I waste far less time, but I also have a way to quickly scribble the random ideas that seem to come out of nowhere!

Noise


Like Rachel, I too took a quantitative look at my writing output, noting where and when I was writing alongside how much I got done. What I found surprised me - my most productive times were actually in noisy places. The background humdrum of cafes seems to work particularly well (and aid the coffee requirement above!), and being out and about actually offers less in the way of distraction - being a full-time stay at home mum means that there is always work to do, and it never takes much to be side tracked by all the many things that need doing in a house.

Prayer

Prayer is the fourth, final, and most important key to my writing. “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love,” wrote Frances Ridley Havergal. It’s a hymn I love, and I have taken to saying it before I start writing anything. I use my hands for note taking, for typing, even for tapping on the table as I try to find exactly the right word for something, and I want God not just to be in the final product for people to read, but to bless me as I seek to worship him by writing.

I wonder, if asked to pick four things, what would yours be?




Abbie has been writing every since she could hold a pencil - her first self-published work was a short story about a magic key, which was displayed on the fridge. After struggling with self harm and eating disorders for a number of years she went on to write a memoir ‘Secret Scars’ published by Authentic in 2007, and later ‘Insight Into Self-Harm’ published by CWR in 2014. In 2007 she launched Adullam Ministries, an information and support website and forum on self-harm and related issues. She blogs at Pink and Blue Mummyland, tweets as @AbbieRobson and @AdullamSelfHarm, and is currently working on a book about mental health and the church. She lives in Rugby with husband John, two demanding children, and two even more demanding cats.

Cover of book: Secret Scars by Abbie RobsonBook cover: Insight into Self-Harm by Helena Wilkinson and Abbie Robson

9 comments:

  1. What a fascinating insight. Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of planning out what you are going to achieve in the session.

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  2. My best writing 'aid' is a deadline. Also, like you, I'm best with noise - in cafes or pubs. Having finished my school marking is another help, because my mind is clear. And then there's the chocolate ...

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    1. Oooh - pubs! I'd never thought of that!

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  3. Thanks for that Abbie. How different we all are. As an INFP on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I could no more write down in a notebook what it is that I'm going to write than I could time the start of my writing by the advent of my first coffee. It all has to be spontaneous - and often surprising - for me. PTL God made us all in such a variety of ways.

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    1. Funny - I'm INFJ - so similar, yet so different!

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  4. Found this so helpful - great insight and tips :)

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  5. Lovely stuff Abbie ... yes we are all different and we all change: I used to always have a coffee (like you), and put on some music to write to, (often evocative songs such as Emma Lee Harris) and I always used to pray. That's changed: I seem to need silence more, and I need notes more. Interesting.

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  6. Lovely stuff Abbie ... yes we are all different and we all change: I used to always have a coffee (like you), and put on some music to write to, (often evocative songs such as Emma Lee Harris) and I always used to pray. That's changed: I seem to need silence more, and I need notes more. Interesting.

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  7. As a stay at home mum I can identify with not being easily able to switch off the "mess" at home! And I'm an INFJ too and I like to write a plan! ;)

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