Things That Are Not Writing, But Will Grow You as a Writer

 

Read – books in your genre and books outside of your genre. I spent many, many years just reading before I ever sat down and tried to write a book. I absolutely think it helped.

Go Outside – alone, with headphones on to eliminate your urge to talk. Being silent with your thoughts and just letting them wander. Never forcing them down one lane or along one problem’s path, but instead opening up and letting whatever thoughts that want to come, to come.

Journal – Free-form, stream of consciousness ideas that go from one thing to another to another to another after that. Never about your book. Never about yourself as a writer. Never about the act of writing. Never about why that editor/agent/reviewer has not gotten back to you.

Wake up early (or stay up late) – being the only one awake in your house lends itself to ideas you might not otherwise see amidst all the noise and haste of daylight hours.

Sleep – Go to bed early. Sleep in late. Your brain is wired to do most of its heavy lifting while you sleep, so why not give it some extra time to work?

Watch TV – screenwriters and television writers know how to construct story, stakes, and deep character arcs. There are so many great shows and movies out there that will push you as a writer to move beyond what you already know. So park yourself on the couch and fire up Netflix and call it “work”!

 

 

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Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Julie Clark grew up reading books on the beach while everyone else surfed. After attending college at University of the Pacific, and a brief stint working in the athletic department at University of California, Berkeley, she returned home to Santa Monica to teach. She now lives there with her two young sons and a golden doodle with poor impulse control. Her debut, THE ONES WE CHOOSE, will be published by Gallery/Simon & Schuster in May 2018.

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