A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I’m in the middle of writing a first draft, and to say I’m finding it difficult is an understatement. One of the main reasons is that I find it so hard to actually sit down and write. Here are some tips I’ve learnt for making writing easier, even if you’re not feeling in the right mood.
1. Don’t prioritise admin
At the start of each day, it’s tempting to answer your emails first, which are often easier and quicker than writing. But this puts your brain in a different mindset than the creative zone you need to be in to write. It’ll be harder to switch over when you need to start writing. Often, admin is less urgent than writing anyway. It can wait.
2. Avoid social media
Delete your apps. Log out of your accounts. Don’t let yourself check any social media at all until you’ve achieved your daily work counts. The internet these days can be such a negative space, it’s hard to stay upbeat and write. You have to shut out the rest of the world to get things done, however difficult it is at first.
The only exception for this is probably myWriteClub, which allows you to update your writing total, and follow your friends who are doing the same.
3. Give yourself an outlet for breaks
Whether it’s a walk around the garden, a colouring book by your desk, or just waiting for the kettle to boil for tea, give yourself something to do that takes a set amount of time when you need a break.
I use newsletters for this. When I need a break, I pick one from my inbox and read it. I prefer these to social media because they’re usually a lot more upbeat, contain lots of interesting links, and are a finite length – there’s no way to get sucked into mindless scrolling.
Here are some of my favourite writing-related newsletters:
I subscribe to a lot of these, so if this is your thing, check out my own blog over the next few weeks – I’m going to be posting a full list of my favourites.
4. Trick your brain into entering the writing mood
I use music, essential oils and candles to give ‘signals’ to my brain that now is the time to work. I also try to restrict recreational time online to my ipad, so whenever I sit at my desk, I know that it’s time to work.
5. Sometimes, you just can’t write.
If you’re not in the mood, you can’t force it. Answer your unanswered emails instead, or file your taxes, or write some blog posts or make some playlists or moodboards to inspire you and share with readers.
Don’t beat yourself up for not writing, because being an author has other responsibilities too.
Good luck with your writing – if I can do it, you can too!
Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.
She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.
The Next Together has been translated into five languages worldwide. It was described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first time writer.
Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together which was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for kids and young adults by the Independent. A short story set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together, is also available.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature scientists in prominent roles.
She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk.
BOOKS: THE NEXT TOGETHER | THE LAST BEGINNING | ANOTHER TOGETHER (e-novella) | THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE
“Funny, romantic and compulsively readable” – The Bookseller for The Next Together