I have a confession—I’m really good at supporting other people’s writing pursuits but not nearly as good at supporting my own. In fact, I’m rather awful at it. I am living proof that one can be fully immersed in working at a writing institution all day yet not be able to find the time/energy/motivation to write creatively.

I need help!

I’m really tired of my “reasons” (excuses) and realize the key component for me to write consistently is in drawing support from others. I need it! It’s how I once wrote an almost complete novel. It’s how I created a one-woman sketch show. It’s how I blogged for years—helpers, supporters, encouragers. I now see it’s the missing link to my moving forward creatively. Since writing is such a solitary endeavor, we must enlist the support of others.

Need some nudges as well? Let’s help each other!

First off, I’m getting fully immersed on the #MyWritingTip train. Have you heard of it? It’s a new campaign the Writers’ Program has created with videos of instructors sharing writing tips. We’ve also been asking folks within our community on Facebook, Twitter, and at events like our annual Publication Party to share tips. Let me tell you, they are nothing short of fantastic/inspiring/motivating/empowering. Click here and take in the wealth of advice offered by our instructors. Be prepared—they’re wonderful! Gems! And lucky for you/me, we’re adding more. Our Writers’ Program YouTube Channel has been a place I take little breaks throughout my work day when I need just a little struggling writer pick me up.

Next step, I’ve solicited my coworkers for their own writing tips. These lovely folks who sit steps away from me for 8 hours a day are a true inspiration because they have gotten into a consistent writing groove—I need that groove too! I asked them what tips keep them afloat as they juggle full time work and part-time writing, and here’s what they had to say:

Jeff Bonnett, Screenwriting Advisor/Screenwriter:
“Sometimes it helps to hear things out loud. A scene, a paragraph of dialogue, etc. It can give you a different perspective. But if you’re not in class, and your roommate’s gone, and you don’t want to record yourself, you can actually make your Macbook read to you! Just copy & paste any text into the ‘TextEdit’ app, then on the top menu click Edit, Speech, then Start Speaking. Voilà! Instant table-read.” (More detailed info here: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Mac-Read-to-You).

Chae Ko, Screenwriting Program Representative/Screenwriter:
“Writing productively is not about quantity, but consistency. If you have trouble starting, try small goals like writing one page every day. It doesn’t have to perfect. But the key here is every day. Soon you will have 7 pages in a week. 30 pages in a month. A finished feature screenplay in 4 months. Or a novel in 8 months. And three features in 12 months. Without even realizing it, you have become prolific.”

Phoebe Lim, Online Creative Writing Advisor/Screenwriter:
“Once you have a draft that you are happy with, have a friend or group of friends read it out loud. Be prepared to take notes. What parts do they stutter or “trip” over? Do you find yourself wincing at certain segments, either at the dialogue, or a description that is a bit much? When do people laugh or really get into the groove of the story? Jot it all down and voila! Now you know exactly where your trouble areas are. Or, you might be patting yourself on the back for a job well-done.”

Nutschell Windsor, Online Creative Writing Program Representative/Author:
“Create writing rituals to help get you in the zone. I make a cup of tea and put on some instrumental music. Then I open my manuscript and re-read the chapter I just wrote, which helps me get back into the story flow. If my creative mind hasn’t quite awakened yet, I just put my fingers on the keyboard and start typing nonsense words until real words, then phrases, then sentences come out. Often, just the act of typing will get me excited about my story again.”

My own best advice —Keep going! I can’t tell you how often I have said to a fellow writer to just keep going, keep up with the momentum, keep writing. I’m going to do just that, keep going. Do you have a tip to share with us? Please do on Facebook or Twitter at #MyWritingTip. Let’s keep the momentum going together!

Carla Janas is the Assistant to the Director. Write to her at cjanas@uclaextension.edu.

Check out some of our instructors sharing their #MyWritingTip!

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