Hello, my name is Grayson and I’ve been writing for JUVEN Press for more than a year now, wow. On top of over 40 articles, I’ve been writing my own projects for the past ten years and very seriously for the last 2 and a half. In this article, I’m presenting seven lessons learned with a hack so you can try them out yourself. I don’t claim to be the font of wisdom for what you should do or how you should write, but I hope you’ll take away something you can use to write faster, better, and happier.
Lesson 1. Slow is Better Than Zero. Writing does not have to be fast as long as you are writing. Besides, anyone can type quickly, but are the words useable? Rushing can lead to mistakes and a messier draft overall. It’s okay to take it slow, to take time for ideas to grow. A first draft is going to be especially slow, but stick with it.
Hack 1. Create Consistency. Words add up. Seems obvious, right? You don’t have to write everyday to be a writer, but I believe you should be consistent with projects you want to follow through on. Haven’t touched that project in four months? Maybe it’s time to evaluate where that project is going. You can create consistency by thinking about your project every day, working on the outline, writing in the document—anything that builds momentum for you.
Lesson 2. Goodbye My Almost Novel. You may write a project, sometimes for years, and realize that it just isn’t working anymore. You may start a draft for a month and then get tired of it, or run into a research wall. This is okay. As writers I think we’re fated to always have ideas, and therefore some ideas will take over other ones. We will abandon projects temporarily or indefinitely, and it’s okay. Say goodbye.
Hack 2. Talk It Out. Whenever I’m stuck or frustrating with the plot I’m working on, talking to someone who has no stakes in the story/knows nothing about it works like magic. If no one is around you can talk to yourself, or switch to handwriting. Either way, changing the context of how you work out your story can help you find out which ideas are working and which need changing.
Lesson 3. -Try New Things. Last year I started working on a fantasy project and a new adult project. The fantasy project has fallen to the wayside. I found the genre challenging because of the amount of research involved. Even though it was hard to get 20,000 words out, it made me a better writer.
Hack 3. Plant Seeds, Not Trees. Trying something new can be daunting, so my hack is to focus on the seeds, or the structure and essentials, of your story first. Details can come later like worldbuilding, magic systems, political history. What’s essential is your main character and who they are, their journey, and destination. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time around, because you won’t.
Lesson 4. Guard Your Time. If you don’t make time for writing, it’s not going to get done.
Hack 4. Writing Sprints. Say you only have 15 minutes a day, or two hours on a Saturday for the whole week—you can still get your writing done. Search YouTube for writing sprint timers, or browse authortube—a writing community on YouTube—and watch their writing live streams. Participating live can be really motivating.
Lesson 5. What is Motivation lol? The feeling ebbs and flows. Life gets in the way, it's okay. You don’t have to rush to get a novel done right now—you have lots of time. Learning to write without motivation takes practice, but one thing you can do is…
Hack 5. Set Deadlines. Promise yourself you will finish the draft in two months, or five. Say you will stop researching and start writing by the end of this week. Deadlines can be a goal and force you to put fingers to keyboard. Chronic procrastinators may find deadlines unhelpful, so do what works for you.
Lesson 6. It’s About the Vibes. I’ve learned from writing in high school, college, and random coffee shops that some places are better to write in that others. Home is the best for me, where I can control the volume (what is it with coffee shops playing super loud music?? And people are always there, ugh). Find the environment that works best for you. Something I highly recommend is the following hack…
Hack 6. Lofi. If you haven’t tried playing lofi in the background while writing, give it a go. This type of music is low fidelity with a calming tempo and simple beat, which helps some people—including me—improve concentration and remove distractions. Lofi fills in the extra space in my head that might get distracted or think about something else when I’m trying to write. Lofi Girl of YouTube fame is a good place to start and maintains a 24/7 lofi stream, but I prefer long, curated videos that I can unpause whenever I need. Here are a few of my favorites: Stones of Eden 🗿 A Dreamy Lofi Mix by Dreamhop Music, Cozy Winter ❄️ - [lofi hip hop/study beats] by Lofi Girl, and Avatar: The Last Airbender☁️ ~ 1 HOUR OF LOFI CHILLOUT MUSIC | Vol.1 by Simon Groß.
Lesson 7. I Love Writing. Wow, shocker. From mid 2020 to the end of 2021, I finished two drafts in one project and started two others. Currently, I’ve written a third draft and am ready for the fourth. Clearly there’s something to this writing thing that I love.
Hack 7. Be proud. Writing is so often a solitary task, lacking in external validation, so celebrate your achievements. Younger you would be so proud of where you are. Keep going.
What have you learned from writing your own projects? Let me know in the comments below! We hope you continue to grow and as always, happy writing from JUVEN Press.
is a writer based in North Carolina. She attends writing classes of all kinds at UNC Chapel Hill and has a particular fondness for sharp imagery. In her free time, she drafts her own novels.
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