Today, I got to emcee a creative writing panel discussion for the Dayton Area PRSA.
I was honored and came away with a ton of great ideas and tips that I m going to put to use. Here are a few that might be useful for some of you.
1. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today – Benjamin Franklin. I was mildly surprised at the number of folks who raised their hands when the someone asked, “Anybody else a procrastinator?” Um, yeah. The best tip to deal with that dreaded project you’ve been putting off came from freelance writer and former reporter, Tracy Staley, “Take an hour each morning before you do anything else, and do the most difficult task on your to-do list for that day.” Getting it done will free up your brain for the stuff you want to think about the rest of the day.
2. My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off – Ray Bradbury. Write now! Annie Bowers, freelance writer and owner of the blog KatesCrossing.com, says her best work comes from writing a piece immediately after doing an interview. “The idea is the freshest and always comes together the easiest right away. I always try to include time in my interview schedule to go somewhere and get the bulk of the idea on the page. Then I can work and/or rework from there.”
3. I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done – Steven Wright. Write everyday. All of our panelists shared this insight. Whether you write in a journal, on a blog, or a page to the next great American novel, take a few minutes everyday to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
4. There is creative reading as well as creative writing – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Read writers you admire and read them often. Tony Gottschlich, former reporter and current freelance writer shared, “Blog writers are a great because they write with their own voice. Whenever I am having trouble with a piece, I turn to other great writers for inspiration.”
5. Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards – Robert A. Heinlein. Don’t be discouraged by negative criticism. This tip actually came from the crowd. Just because a client, editor or boss changes what you wrote, doesn’t mean your writing was bad. It usually just means that they would write it a different way. Everyone has a different style. Tracy added that you should only share your drafts with people who understand your writing style.
Thanks to all who participated and attended today’s session. I hope you got as much out of it as I did!