One great thing about writing is that age and experience help. It’s not like dancing or tennis where you wear out quickly.
Here are some things I’ve learned with experience:
1. Don’t talk about your work. It’s harder to write when you talk about it all the time.
2. Don’t show your work until you’re ready–really ready. When you finish a draft take another week to reread and revise. I guarantee that the extra time and attention will pay off.
3. Build in breaks to your day. Few can concentrate for hour after hour and many burn out trying. Try a five minute break every hour, and give yourself a real lunch break too!
4. Exercise helps. Walking, running, swimming, just plain stretching. You’ll think better.
5. Plan ahead. I know I sound unromantic, but writing notes or outlines and thinking about how long a project will take will help keep you sane. Setting small short term goals makes a long project much less overwhelming.
6. Read. Some people swear off reading while they write a book, but I think that’s like exiling yourself. If you find reading distracting, try a different genre. Read poetry when writing fiction. Try reading a play.
7. Daydream. Staring out the window is actually not a waste of time. Writing involves more than setting words own on the page. In fact, thinking and imagining come first. It’s so easy to forget that!
8. Try not to rush. Don’t keep churning out pages just to get to the end. Hold yourself to a certain standard so that you’re actually happy with the work you’ve done so far. Careful work will make you confident.
9. Enjoy the process. Why do something you don’t enjoy? This is your life; this is the only time you have. Choose work you love.
10. Forgive yourself. Nothing worthwhile is easy. It’s hard to tell a story. It takes a lifetime to learn.