Five Things: How to keep writing

Category: Writing

1.  Go for a walk. The rhythm of walking can set your sentences going. You may be trying too hard.  A walk is relaxing. It allows ideas – or the next bit of your story – to come into your mind without any effort on your part.

2.  Ask questions. Who,  What, Why, Where and How are a writer’s most useful words. Question your characters and brainstorm the answers.  e.g. So what would X really do when when a strange man appears at his door? Who is he? What does he want? Where has he come from and How will X answer his question?

3.  Make a Writing Resolution – one that is not too ambitious.  Either you are going to write for an hour a day, whatever happens, or you are going to write 300 words every day before breakfast. Whatever your resolution stick to it for at least a month or until you feel uncomfortable when you don’t do it!

4.  Go out and buy a beautiful new notebook. Avoid blank white paper, it’s far too scary. And don’t choose one that is so fat that it will need a novel the size of War and Peace to fill it. I like wide lines and yellow paper. A margin for scribbled notes is cheery and I like spiral-bound notebooks so I can tear out a page and throw it away.

Diana Hendry

Buy a second, small, quiet notebook. This can be your ideas notebook. A kind of larder for future use.

5.  Make a chapter plan using those ‘In which...’ headings that A. A. Milne uses in the Winnie the Pooh stories. 

e.g. In which B falls in love with C

In which there’s a hurricane.

In which wicked aunt Betty arrives.

In which everyone lives happily ever after.

Once you’ve got an outline, you can grow each ‘In which’ to a larger plan.  Before you know it, you’ll be writing your whole story. 

Diana Hendry

Diana Hendry is a poet, short story writer and the author of many children’s books. Her novel, The Seeing, has been shortlisted in the Older Readers category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards. Find out more about Diana's work on her website.