For many people, this week is Spring Break and they are off camping or to the beach or visiting family and friends. I on the other hand am focusing on ghostwriting, always reading a good book – Twelve Ordinary Men – and filing away my conference notes after reviewing them. I promised some tips and here they are:
1. Be healthy when you write. Use an ergonomic keyboard. It is the one where the keys are split down the middle and you can type in a much more natural position. It can keep you from getting carpal tunnel or other repetitive motion injuries. In addition, take a break at least for five minutes every hour away from the keyboard. Get a chair that helps you avoid back pain. There are ergonomic chairs available. Set your keyboard at a height that your elbows are at a 90% angle if at all possible. That puts less pressure on your neck and shoulders as well as your wrists and arms. Your screen needs to be set on a level so that you don’t have to hunch over or stretch to see clearly. You should be able to look straight ahead.
2. Treat your writing like a business. If you treat it like you do an office job downtown, then other people will too. Set work hours and don’t let people take up your time because they think you aren’t doing anything because you’re at home. If you don’t respect your time, then no one else will either. Sometimes the hardest part is getting your family to understand you are working.
3. Join writers organizations and attend conferences because you will meet other writers. You can learn from each other. Writing is a solitary endeavor and it helps to talk with other writers. Network with other writers. Join a critique group that can help you hone your writing skills.
4. Write what you know and what interests you. Write everyday and enjoy yourself. If you don’t know what to write, then keep a notebook or computer file that is just for free-writing. Free-writing is taking a minimum of 10 minutes to write anything that crosses your mind. You can even write disconnected thoughts to start. It gets your brain working and gets you unstuck.
5. Most of all submit your writing. If you never submit anything, then you’ll never get published. Submit. Submit. Submit.
Have a great week and enjoy yourself!