How to Find Time to Write in Your Busy Schedule

How to Find Time to Write in Your Busy Schedule

One of the biggest struggles common among writers is actually finding the time to write. Whether you’re a student, work full time, or take care of a family (or even all three at once!) it’s easy for your daily schedule to fill up. During hectic and stressful times, it’s easy to go days or weeks without putting pen to paper. If you’re struggling to find time to write

How to Find Time to Write in Your Busy Schedule

Prioritize Your Writing

One of the unfortunate truths of modern life is often there are more tasks to do than we have time to do them. In fact, a common way to procrastinate a task (often writing) is to prioritize other tasks that also seem important. There’s a joke: how can you tell a writer is on a deadline? Their house is completely spotless!

If writing is important to you and you want to be writing regularly, then you need to make the choice to prioritize it. The first thing is to tell yourself, “my writing is important and is a priority to me.” Once you’ve set that in your mind, you also have to set it into practice. You’ll need to schedule writing time (more on this in the next section) and if push comes to shove, you may need to choose writing over other activities (like going out to see friends or binging TV after work). This is maybe the biggest challenge, but if being a writer is important to you, you will have to make some sacrifices to achieve that. Otherwise, you’ll keep putting off your project until “someday” when you’re less busy. For most people, that “someday” never comes unless they choose to make it now.

If you haven’t already, you should set some writing goals so you have something to work toward each day.

Set a Writing Schedule

To make writing a priority in your life, you should treat it like any other obligation. Schedule writing time into your day like you schedule your gym time, meetings with your boss, or dentist appointments. While having a consistent schedule is easiest for forming a habit, you may have to customize it to fit around other obligations. Be creative if you need to. Maybe you can get 30 minutes on Monday before you go to the gym, but if Tuesday is a rest day you can schedule a whole hour.

The most important thing to do is show up for your scheduled writing time. Don’t let procrastination or scrolling through social media steal this precious time from you. There will be plenty of other real-world “surprises” that will try to derail your schedule, make the most of the time you can claim for writing.



Become a Weekend Warrior

While “write every day” is one of the most commonly dispensed pieces of writing advice, it’s not so easily applied to everyone’s lives. The consistency of writing every day is a great way to build a habit and consistently meet writing goals, but not everyone’s life can fit in dedicated writing time each day.

When I was working a traditional 9-to-5 office job, I was often not home until 6 pm or later. By the time I was done cooking and eating dinner I had no energy for writing and often ended up watching TV just to decompress from the stress of my job. Even if I could convince myself to sit down at my computer, my mental energy was drained and I often couldn’t get much writing done. I struggled for many years trying to “write every day” but I would never be able to make it more than a few days before failing at the goal.

A writer friend of mine recommended becoming a weekend warrior–and it worked! Instead of trying to shove 30 minutes of writing into each of my weekdays, I set aside 4 hours during the weekend. Usually, this involved me going to a cafe or my local library in the morning and settling down with a laptop and my headphones to write. Long stretches of dedicated time like that made it easier for me to “unplug” from my daily life and focus on my writing project. I enjoyed the sessions even more if a writer friend was available to join me–we would celebrate our writing success by going to lunch afterward.

Many writers don’t have the stamina for hours-long writing sessions, but if you’re struggling to fit in short sessions during the week, give a long weekend writing session a try and see if it works for you.

Get up Early

Just thinking about this makes me groan–I am a night owl and getting up at a “normal” time can sometimes be a struggle. But often, the easiest way to find the time to write is to “add” a little extra time to your schedule. This technique is especially loved by parents who enjoy the quiet morning hours before their kids wake up and create a distraction they really shouldn’t ignore.

According to the early morning writers I’ve talked to, the great thing about getting up early to write is it’s almost a sacred time. If you make your coffee or tea, don’t check the news or your email, then you’re existing in a time with no outside distractions. You can just sit down and write, knowing that everything else can wait until it’s time to “officially” start your day. Plus, getting your writing done first thing means it’s less likely to be the item that gets pushed off your schedule if your day has some unexpected bumps.

How to Find Time to Write in Your Busy Schedule

Write Wherever and Whenever You Can

Sometimes life is just too hectic to schedule a proper time to sit down and focus on writing. If you feel like you can’t schedule writing time, then there are other ways to prioritize writing and make sure it happens. But it requires a little creativity.

Analyze your day and looks for moments of “downtime” that you can regularly utilize. If you commute via public transportation, that is a great time to use to do some writing, and it happens twice a day! Your lunch break at work can also be used for writing time. This works especially well if you can eat while you’re working and then really dedicate your break time to writing. If you take walks for exercise or with your dog, you can use the dictation feature on your smartphone to write while you walk. Multi-tasking for the win!

You should be prepared to write at any time because it can be hard to predict when you’ll be gifted with extra time where you’re just waiting. This may mean carrying a small notebook and pen in your pocket or purse or writing on your phone in the notes app.

Any downtime you find yourself pulling out your phone and scrolling social media is time you could use to jot down a few more sentences! So if you’re in the hour-long line at the DMV or sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, that is time you can spend writing. If you’re motivated to find moments for writing during the day, you will find them.


I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to find time to write. If you’re looking for more tips on fitting writing time into your busy life, check out the book Writer with a Day Job by Aine Greaney. Make sure you’re reading to get inspiration for your writing. Check out how to find time to read in your busy schedule.

If you’re struggling with writing in general, learn how to get out of a writing rut and beat writer’s block.

Step by Step: How to Write a Book

I Want to Write a Book. Where Do I Start?

Maybe you’ve dreamed of it all your life or recently a new idea has entered your mind that you can’t stop thinking about. While the idea of writing a book or novel may seem scary or overwhelming, anyone can write! You don’t need an MFA in creative writing or a literary agent, all you need to do is put pen on paper and write your story. If you’re stalling out, unsure of how to start the project of writing the first draft of your book, follow this guide to up your skills, meet your goals, and be successful.

I Want to Write a Book. Where Do I Start? - How to Write a Book

Step by Step: How to Write a Book

In the simplest terms, all you have to do to start writing a book is to type the first sentence. But to set yourself up for success, there are some other steps to take to make sure you’ll be able to see the project through to the end of the first (second, third, etc.) draft. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be holding the first draft of your book in your hands before you know it.

Set Up Your Writing Space

Distraction is the biggest enemy of the writer. One of the best ways to avoid this is to have a dedicated space for writing. This will help you get into the writing mindset and keep your family or roommates from bugging you as you work.

A dedicated office space with a door you can close is the dream for any writer. Make sure you have a desk and a comfortable chair. I like to sit near a window so I can stare out when I get stuck. Try to keep distractions out of the room. Your phone can hang out somewhere else during writing time.

If your home doesn’t have enough space for a dedicated office, a small writing desk in your bedroom or living room is a great alternative. It will help you get into the writing mindset when you sit down, as well as signaling to everyone that you’re busy writing.

Philip Roth Writes at a Standing Desk
Philip Roth exclusively worked at a standing desk when he wrote his books. Get more writing space inspiration from the writing desks of famous authors.

If space is really at a premium, you can set up shop at your kitchen table. Create a little pre-writing ritual to help achieve the proper mindset. I like to get a cup of tea, grab my favorite notebook, and put on my headphones to drown out household noises.

If you find that working at home is impossible or it’s hard to keep your family members out of your hair, a remote writing space might work better. Grab your laptop and your headphones and spend some time at a local coffee shop or the library. Keep your wifi turned off on your computer to really help you focus.

Set Aside Writing Time

Writing a book takes time. The fastest writers can bang out a first draft in a month, but it’s not uncommon for it to take months or years. To meet that goal, you’ll need to be consistent with your writing time.

Make sure to set aside time just for writing. Many writers tout the benefits of writing every single day, but that is not a requirement. Figure out a schedule that works for your creativity and your life obligations. If you work a traditional full-time job, maybe you can spend 30 minutes before or after work (or on your lunch break) writing every day. If you work better in large chunks, set aside your Sunday afternoon to power through a few hours of writing time.

When your scheduled writing time comes, you have to be disciplined. Treat it like you would an important business meeting. Show up on time. Sit down with your computer or notebook, put your phone away, and write. If you’re stuck, try some activities to beat writer’s block, but if you really can’t write you have to keep with your schedule. Even if it means you’re just sitting there brainstorming, you’ll make more progress than you would scrolling on social media on your phone.

If your life is too chaotic to schedule writing time in advance, try to squeeze it in when you can. Carry your notebook with you or write on your phone anytime you’re stuck waiting. Make daily or weekly writing goals and seize time whenever you can to meet them (more on this in the next section).



Set Realistic Goals

Since writing a full-length book can take so long, a good way to stay motivated is to set smaller goals along the way. The best way to make sure you will be able to meet your goals is to make them realistic. We have a whole article on how to set writing goals you can actually achieve. The biggest key to your success is making sure your writing goals are realistic.

While you may like the idea of writing an entire book in a month, if you can’t commit to writing 2000+ words a day, you’re going to fail that goal. Think about your writing style and how much time you can commit to writing each day, then build goals off of that. Don’t make the goals too easy, you still need a little challenge. Many writers find daily or weekly word count goals work great. Another good option is writing times. Spending 10 hours a week writing is a great goal for writing a book.

Step by Step: How to Write a Book

Do the Writing

This is the most important part and at the same time the hardest part. You have to actually write the book! Now that you’ve set yourself up for success, you’ve got to put your head down and write the words.

Show up for your writing time and meeting your goals, you will eventually finish the first draft of your book. To make this process a little easier, follow the next three suggestions.

Develop Your Idea

While many writers are pantsers who just start writing without any preplanning, you may find that tricky, especially if this is your first book. Spending some time brainstorming your story will make it easier to meet your writing goals because you’ll know exactly what you need to write.

There are many approaches to developing your book idea. Feel free to try a bunch of them to find the ones that work the best for you. Creating a plot outline will give you a guide for your writing sessions. Don’t forget to spend some time developing your characters (creating a character profile is a fun way to do it).

Develop Your Craft

You’ll learn a lot just from the process of writing your first draft, but you can really develop your craft by seeking outside knowledge. Enrolling in a writing program at a college may not be within your budget, but there’s plenty of options to add new tools to your writing toolbox.

The easiest and most affordable way to learn writing craft is by reading books on writing. There’s a whole variety of books with writing tips available for a variety of genres and types of writing. I recommend going to your local library or bookstore and browsing the writing section to find some books that will go with your project. You should also consider these books on writing fiction.

Join a Writing Group to Improve Your Craft

If you’re looking for a bit of socialization with your learning, consider joining a local writing group. This will not only give you some moral support as you write your book, but many of these groups involve critiquing each other’s work. Surprisingly, you’ll often learn more from critiquing other writer’s rough drafts than you will from getting your own work critiqued. If you don’t know any local writers, you may be able to find a group on Meetup.com.

If you think you’d benefit from a more structured learning experience, you could take a creative writing class. Many community colleges and local organizations will offer classes for a fee.

If there isn’t anything available locally or you prefer to learn at home, a Masterclass membership gets you unlimited writing classes from professional authors like Margaret Atwood, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oats, Dan Brown, David Sedaris, and more.

Read!

To be a good writer, you need to be a reader. Read all kinds of books. You’ll find there’s plenty of books you need to read for research to write your book. You should also read other books in the genre you’re writing.

Make sure you’re also reading books for fun and books outside of the genre you’re writing in. Also, seek out diverse authors and voices. Variety and diversity in your reading will help you develop as a writer and avoid cliches in plot or characters.

Save money by brushing off your library card or subscribing to Kindle Unlimited.

When You Finish Your First Draft

Celebrate! Finishing the first draft of your first book is a huge accomplishment. Treat yourself to a nice dinner or a special gift. Then put your book in a drawer. You need some time away from it. While it rests, keep reading and start working on a new project. Then after a few months, when you’re ready, read through your draft and start working on the next one.


While you’re writing your new book, check out the best software for writing a book and essential reference books for writers. Take care of yourself by following these 10 health tips for writers.

Revising, Editing, Proofreading

How to Get Your Short Story Published

One of the biggest hurdles for new and aspiring writers if getting that first publication credit. Most creative writing students aim for writing short fiction. It works well with traditional writing classes and there’s plenty of opportunities to get short fiction published. If you’re thinking about writing a short story or have one ready to send out to magazines and anthologies, this article will cover everything you need to know to publish your short story traditionally in a magazine or on a website.

How to Get Your Short Story Published

1. Write the Story

This is the most obvious step, but it’s often the biggest hurdle for people who are trying to get from “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer.” It’s easy to come up with clever ideas, the real challenge is writing them down. Set a writing goal and get your first draft done. Then celebrate with a little treat or a small gift and put the story away for a few weeks.

2. Revise, Revise, Revise

You may feel like the first draft of your story is brilliant, but to be very honest with you, it’s not. If you send out the first draft on submission there will be a lot of form rejections in your future.

This is why I recommend you put the story away for a few weeks. It allows you to look at the manuscript with fresh eyes, so you can see what is missing from the page. Rewrite your story once or twice until you feel like it is as good as you can make it. Then give it to some readers for critique. If you’re in a writing class or group, then you’re all set. Otherwise, look for friends who read regularly. Don’t give your story to your mom who will be inclined to praise anything you do. If you don’t have anyone you know to crit your story, there are many online critique groups and forums where you can trade stories with other writers in your genre.

Revising, Editing, Proofreading

3. Proofread

Notice how this is a separate step. That’s because proofreading is incredibly important. There’s nothing that can trip up a slush reader or editor faster than typos, misspellings, and incorrect word usage. We want them to be completely enthralled in your story, so the manuscript should be as clean as possible.

At a minimum, you should run spell check on your document and read through it again to correct any errors. I recommend printing the story out or changing the font–this small trick will make it easier to find errors your eyes might otherwise glide over. If you have a friend who is also a writer or thrives at grammar, as them to proofread your story.

You can also utilize editing software like Prowriting Aid to help you proofread your manuscript.



4. Find a Market

Now that your story is it’s absolute best, you need to find the best market for it. If you’re writing short fiction you should be reading contemporary short fiction and the magazines you’d like to publish in. If you’re still learning, you can use databases like Duotrope or The Submission Grinder to find markets that publish the types of stories you like.

Make sure to read an issue of each market you’re considering to get a sense of what kind of stories the editors publish. If all of their stories are very serious, you probably won’t be able to sell them your humorous flash fiction. Take a peek at their submission guidelines while you’re there. Many editors will list what kinds of stories they’re looking for and the ones they absolutely do not want to read. Make note of their pay rates as well.

Keep a list (a spreadsheet is great for this) of potential markets to submit to. Include details like the editor’s name, their pay rate, word count limits, open submission dates, etc. Since you may want to submit to markets that don’t allow simultaneous submissions, it’s helpful to prioritize the markets for the order you want to submit it. I recommend sending your story to more prestigious or higher paying markets first (also take into account response time) and then work your way down the list.

 

5. Follow the Submission Guidelines

Slush readers and editors who are overwhelmed with submissions may be subconsciously looking for reasons to reject your story. You want your story to get a fair evaluation, so follow the magazine’s guidelines, even if it means reformating your story or rewriting your cover letter.

The submission guidelines for each market will have details of how to send your story (email, submission form, etc), what format your story should be in (file type, font, etc), and what other information you should provide (cover letter, author bio, etc.).

If the guidelines don’t specify what format to submit a story in, generally it is safe to send a Microsoft Word .doc file in Shunn Manuscript Format.

If you’ve never written a cover letter before, author and editor Alex Shvartsman has a great guide.

6. Submit & Track

You’ve prepped your manuscript, polished your cover letter, it’s time to submit! Send your story to your chosen market (and if they allow simultaneous submissions, send it to a few more, too). Make sure you keep track of when and where you send what stories. You can use the trackers on Duotrope or The Submission Grinder, or use a submission tracker spreadsheet.

7. Wait

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of waiting in the writing game. Duotrope and The Submission Grinder can give you a good idea of a market’s average turn around time. While you’re waiting, this is the perfect time to start a new story or novel. It will help distract you from the waiting game and help you get another story for submission.

Submission Accepted or Rejected

8. Get Your Response

If you’ve just started submitting your writing, it’s highly likely that your first responses are going to be rejections. This can be extremely discouraging, but it’s part of the writing life. When you get a rejection you should always get a reward (a favorite candy bar or other small purchase) and then send that story right back out on submission again.

Many writers feel inclined to rewrite a story every time it’s rejected. I would caution against this impulse for a few reasons. 1. There are a hundred reasons why an editor might have rejected your story (The story is awesome but they just published a zombie story or they don’t like romance or they could only buy four stories and yours was the fifth). Unless you got a personal rejection telling you why they didn’t buy it, you can’t know what the issue was. 2. Focusing your energy too much on rewriting one story over and over again can ultimately just frustrate a writer. True progress and growth are made by writing new stories and developing your skills further.

In my opinion, it’s safe to consider rewriting your story if you get personalized critique from an editor that you agree with (eg. the ending doesn’t work, the character arc doesn’t make sense). You may also want to consider revisiting the story if you’ve received five or more rejections.

9. Publish Your Story

If you keep it up, repeating these steps by writing and submitting new stories, eventually you will make your first sale! Congratulations! Make sure to celebrate with a nice dinner or a fancy writing gift.

And then, it’s time to start writing again.


Need some writing inspiration? Check out the best books on writing fiction and tools that destroy writer’s block.


Best Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Best Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Best Writing Advice from Famous Authors

The creative process can be frustrating, especially when it comes to writing. When you’re early in your writing career, it’s easy to get discouraged. Luckily there’s plenty of great writing advice available from famous authors who’ve established their careers and figured out how to harness their creativity. Check out some of our favorites quotes and writing advice from these successful writers.

George Saunders

In an article for the Guardian, George Saunders talks a bit about his writing process. One of my favorite parts is when he talks about revision and specificity:

Revising by the method described is a form of increasing the ambient intelligence of a piece of writing. This, in turn, communicates a sense of respect for your reader. As text is revised, it becomes more specific and embodied in the particular. It becomes more sane. It becomes less hyperbolic, sentimental, and misleading. It loses its ability to create a propagandistic fog. Falsehoods get squeezed out of it, lazy assertions stand up, naked and blushing, and rush out of the room….

When I write, “Bob was an asshole,” and then, feeling this perhaps somewhat lacking in specificity, revise it to read, “Bob snapped impatiently at the barista,” then ask myself, seeking yet more specificity, why Bob might have done that, and revise to, “Bob snapped impatiently at the young barista, who reminded him of his dead wife,” and then pause and add, “who he missed so much, especially now, at Christmas,” – I didn’t make that series of changes because I wanted the story to be more compassionate. I did it because I wanted it to be less lame.

But it is more compassionate. Bob has gone from “pure asshole” to “grieving widower, so overcome with grief that he has behaved ungraciously to a young person, to whom, normally, he would have been nice”. Bob has changed. He started out a cartoon, on which we could heap scorn, but now he is closer to “me, on a different day”.

How was this done? Via pursuit of specificity. I turned my attention to Bob and, under the pressure of trying not to suck, my prose moved in the direction of specificity, and in the process my gaze became more loving toward him (ie, more gentle, nuanced, complex), and you, dear reader, witnessing my gaze become more loving, might have found your own gaze becoming slightly more loving, and together (the two of us, assisted by that imaginary grouch) reminded ourselves that it is possible for one’s gaze to become more loving.

Make sure you read the whole article for more wisdom from Saunders.

JK Rowling

Fans of the author are lucky, JK Rowling has written an entire article with her thoughts on writing. One of my favorite pieces of advice from her isn’t specifically about the writing process.

Fear of failure is the saddest reason on earth not to do what you were meant to do. I finally found the courage to start submitting my first book to agents and publishers at a time when I felt a conspicuous failure. Only then did I decide that I was going to try this one thing that I always suspected I could do, and, if it didn’t work out, well, I’d faced worse and survived.

Ultimately, wouldn’t you rather be the person who actually finished the project you’re dreaming about, rather than the one who talks about ‘always having wanted to’?

James Patterson

James Patterson often says he doesn’t give out writing advice, all he does is share what works for him. In an interview with Fast Company he dives into his writing a bit:

I think what hooks people into my stories is the pace. I try to leave out the parts people skip. I used to live across the street from Alexander Haig, and if I told you a story that I went out to get the paper and Haig was laying in the driveway, and then I went on for 20 minutes describing the architecture on the street and the way the palm trees were, you’d feel like “Stop with the description–what’s going on with Haig?” I tend to write stories the way you’d tell them. I think it’d be tragic if everybody wrote that way. But that’s my style. I read books by a lot of great writers. I think I’m an okay writer, but a very good storyteller.

He also talks about how using an outline helps his writing process (and helps him be so prolific!):

I’m a fanatic about outlining. It’s gonna make whatever you’re writing better, you’ll have fewer false starts, and you’ll take a shorter amount of time. I write them over and over again. You read my outline and it’s like reading a book; you really get the story, even though it’s condensed. Each chapter will have about a paragraph devoted to it. But you’re gonna get the scene, and you’re gonna get the sense of what makes the scene work.

Make sure to check out more of his advice in the article.

Ray Bradbury

One of the most famous sci-fi writers of the last century, Ray Bradbury wrote hundreds of short stories in an office full of things that inspired him. Much of his writing advice is about finding inspiration and joy in your work. In his book Zen in the Art of Writing, he gives tons of writing advice perfect for aspiring writers. Here’s my favorite bit:

Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, these things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto….
…if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing, a writer should be is–excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches, God knows it’d be better for this health.

Steven King

One of the most famous writers of our time, Steven King has freely shared his writing advice with fans and aspiring writers in his memoir On Writing. He gets into the nitty-gritty of dialogue, rewriting, and even research. I like his suggestions on writing description:

Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story. Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.
Description begins with visualization of what it is you want the reader to experience. It ends with your translating what you see in your mind into words on the page. It’s far from easy…. If you want to be a successful writer, you must be able to describe it, and in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition.

Neil Gaiman

In a 2015 interview with Daniel Handler, Neil Gaiman was asked what his advice is for aspiring writers. His advice is very straightforward:

Finish things…. “Write” only takes you so far. “Finish things” takes you most of the rest of the way. Write things people want to read. Write things you care about…. I get puzzled and lost when people start asking me questions about what they should be writing for the market or whatever. There is no market–there’s nobody in the whole world of marketing ever would wake up someday and say, “A Series of Unfortunate Events is exactly what the world needs.” … Things like that happen because somebody wants to tell a story and you have an idea and you think you can tell that story better than anyone else.

This is a great reminder for all those writers struggling on first novels or feeling frustrated by the slush process.


Need more inspiration? Check out these 50 inspiring quotes about writing and these tools to destroy writer’s block. The five best books on writing will help you with your next project.

Make sure to get your writing done by finding time to write and setting writing goals you can achieve.

How to Create a Character Profile (Free Template!)

How to Create a Character Profile (Free Template!)

How to Create a Character Profile (Free Template!)

Great stories and novels hinge on great characters. While the perfect hero or villain may appear in your mind fully formed and three dimensional, you may need to brainstorm your character before you start your new story. One of the techniques to create engaging, realistic, and well-rounded characters is to create a character profile. If you’re new to writing or trying to figure out a better way to develop characters, read on. This character profile works for creating protagonists, antagonists, and even side characters.

How to Create a Character Profile

What is a Character Profile?

In its most basic form, a character profile is a tool used by writers to help develop a well-rounded and realistic character. They’re generally used for main characters (the hero and villain) as well as other major side characters. The type and level of detail of character profiles differ for each writer who uses them. While many authors use a standard profile of facts that they fill out for each character, many have developed their own quirky and interesting processes that fit their writing style. Feel free to try any of these ideas to figure out what works best for you and your story or book.

Character profiles aren’t only great brainstorming tools for developing new characters but they’re extremely helpful reference points. Continuity issues can pop-up in any story, but they’re especially common in novels and series. To avoid writing your character with blue eyes in Chapter 1 and brown eyes in Chapter 12, you can easily reference your character profile as you work. Even if you’re a pantser who likes to start a story with minimal planning, figuring out some of the basic facts for your main characters will make rewriting and editing a lot easier.

Standard Character Profile

This is the most common type of character profile that many writers use. Frequently you’ll see templates online that work great. They list different facets of your character to brainstorm, from basic biographical facts to conflicts and character arcs.

If you don’t want to use a template, you can easily create your own character profile using a piece of paper or a blank text document. Make sure to include details about your character’s name, age, physical description, and background. You’ll also want to explore their relationships to other characters and to the plot of the story. Details like character flaws, weaknesses, and fears will help you develop your story and set up obstacles for your character.

I recommend considering the following when you create your character profile:

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • Where are they from?
  • Who are the important people in their life?
  • What is their goal?
  • What is their motivation?
  • What do they fear?
  • What is their history?
  • What is their personality?
  • What are their internal/exernal conflicts?

The elements you figure out for your character can be broad or extremely detailed. Some writers enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty details, especially with their main characters. They’ll figure out the character’s favorite color or ice cream character before they start writing their story. With practice, you’ll figure out the best balance for your writing workflow.

You may not be able to answer each prompt before you start the story. Often the character will reveal more about themselves as they

Check out our free template below to help you get started.



Character Biography or Letter to the Author

The character biography is a different take on creating a character profile. Rather than filling out a bunch of stats about a character, this is a free-flowing way to flesh out a new character. Many authors prefer this less formal exercise.

There are a few forms this can take. The simplest is a biography of the character. Starting with their birth (or even starting with their parents before their birth), write out the information about their life history. Think back to when you wrote biographical papers in school about historical figures. You’ll want to include major life events that shape who your character is as well as details of their personality, preferences, and relationships. This is also a good time to think about what happened to your character before the start of the story that may affect the plot or arc.

Another approach to the biography is the letter. This is a letter written from the character to the author, introducing themselves and whatever situation they may find themselves in at the beginning of the story. This exercise is a great way to work out the character’s voice and is perfect if you plan to write your story in the character’s first person POV.

Download a Free Character Profile Template

Free Character Profile Template
This character profile worksheet makes a great starting point for any writer in any genre. Feel free to remove or add to the profile for your own writerly needs. Happy writing!

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(Right click “Save Link As” to download to your computer.)


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How to Create a Character Profile (Free Template!)

Searching for character inspiration? Check out our Pinterest Board of Character Pictures to jump start your imagination.

Successfully complete your novel by setting achieveable writing goals. Use these books on writing fiction to develop your craft.


Joyce Carol Oates Author Desk

15 Writing Desks of Famous Authors

If you need a little writing break (or something to help you procrastinate writing time), here’s something fun to check out. Writing locations and environments can have a huge influence on an author’s work and process. Sometimes peeping at their office can give some insight into their creative process as well. From neat and tiny tables to chaotic, packed offices, check out these writing desks of famous and successful authors.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin Author Desk Photo
James Baldwin (1924-1987) is a novelist and playwright known for many works including his essay collection Notes of a Native Son. He had unique writing habits because he often had a day job. He would begin his writing work at night once his kids were in bed. Even when he became established enough in his writing career to ditch the day job, he continued writing at night when he would be alone.
Photo source: Writers at Work Tumblr

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury Writing Desk
Beloved science fiction writer Ray Bradbury was famous for advising aspiring writers to always write what they loved. He followed his own advice by surrounding himself with things he loved in his office. The room was jam-packed with books and mementos that inspired him. Within the chaos, you can see his trusty typewriter on his desk. He used typewriters throughout his career, even after computers became common. All of his stories and books were written on typewriters. Photo source.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Writing Desk
This photo of Charles Dickens is one we’re lucky to have since it was taken in 1858. Considered one of the greatest novelists of the Victorian era, he had a very specific routine to his daily schedule. After waking at 7 am, breakfast at 8, he was in his study working by 9 am, not leaving until 2 pm when he had lunch with his family. After that, he’d take a vigorous three-hour walk. The rest of his evening was relaxed, but this schedule worked well for Dickens who could easily produce 2,000 words a day.
Photo source: Old Photo Archive

Check out some writing advice from Ray Bradbury.

Louisa Mae Alcott

Louisa Mae Alcott Writer Desk
Louisa Mae Alcott (1932 – 1888) is most well known for her classic novel Little Women. She wrote by hand at this writing desk at Orchard House. After years of disappointing reception to her writing, her publisher suggested that she try writing a “girls story.” She composed the book that became Little Women in two and a half months, basing it on her own life experiences with her sister. Neither she or her publishers were impressed by the manuscripts, but it was published and quickly sold out the first edition. The book was an overnight success, that still stands a great literature today.
Photo source: Old Photo Archive

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Author Desk
Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938) writes in a tidy but personal study on the second floor of her home, with her desk position at the window. She makes good use of that view, saying, “I spend much of my time gazing out the window of any writing space I have inhabited.” Her writing process starts by writing longhand notes at the small antique table in her office. Then she moves to work on her laptop at her desk to expand on her handwritten notes. Learn more about Oates’ writing process through her Masterclass.
Source.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain Writing Desk
Seen here working at his desk in 1880, Mark Twain (1835-1910) is best known for his books The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Often quotes, one of my favorite writing quotes from Mark Twain is “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” It’s a more dramatic version of the “show, don’t tell” advice.
Photo source: Old Photo Archive



JK Rowling

JK Rowling Writing Desk Harry Potter
So this isn’t JK Rowling’s (b. 1965) office, but this desk has such an interesting story that it’s worth including. When it was time for Rowling to write the last book in her Harry Potter series, she had a hard time finding a quiet place to work. She decided to go to The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh to do some writing. The first day went so well, she decided to return and ended up “moving in” during August of 2006. She wrote the entire book at the pictured desk, eventually graffitiing a bust in the room to celebrate the completion of the story. This hotel room is now called the JK Rowling Suite.

Source.

Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez Writing Desk
Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez (1927 – 2014) wrote on many typewriters throughout his life (you can see more photos at the source). His parents gifted him one when he was 21. He pawned the typewriter and it went missing during El Bogotazo, the riots following the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948. Fortunately, that didn’t slow his acquisition of other typewriters, which allowed him to complete many compositions including One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Source.

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw Writing Shed
George Bernard Shaw has one of my favorite “offices.” His is actually a writing shed, built in the garden of his villa known as “Shaw Corner.” While he had a traditional study, most of his writing happened in the shed, which was designed to rotate so he always had the best light to work in. You can see more photos here.

Photo Source.

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke Writing Desk
Well known for writing 2001: A Space Odyssey (both the screenplay and the novelization, this photo is Arthur C. Clarke in 1984. A methodical writer and a perfectionist, he didn’t let life’s challenges stop his writing. When he was semi-paralized in 1962, he wrote his juvenile novel Dolphin Island by hand in a hospital bed. He typed all his own stories and essays well into his 80s, when he had to turn to dictation.

Source.

Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon Analog & Digital Desks
Austin Kleon is an artist and writer (most well known for his NY Times Bestseller Steal Like an Artist). He keeps two desks in his workspace that he refers to as his “analog” and “digital” desk. The analog desk has nothing electric on it, just markers, pencils, paper, etc. He finds this space is helpful for creating new work and avoiding online distractions like social media. The digital desk is home to his computer and other gadgets like a Wacom tablet and MIDI keyboard. See more of his office set-up at the source.

Danielle Steel

Danielle Steel Writer Desk
Danielle Steel is one of the biggest bestselling authors and she has a desk to match her huge success. In fact–her desk is literally her best selling books. In her office at her home in San Francisco, Steel had this custom made desk created to look like a stack of three of her books. The focus of her desk is the 1946 Olympia standard typewriter one which she’s composed 163 books and still uses. She keeps her office filled with mementos and other things she loves. Check out more photos at the source.

R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine Writer Office
It’s no surprise that noted children’s horror author R.L. Stine has a few creepy things in his writing office: like a giant toy cockroach and a skeleton. Most well known for his “Goosebumps” series, Stine lives in a co-op in NYC that he’s own for over two decades. When asked about how he writes, Stine says he has to know the title first, then the ending so he can figure out how to surprise the reader. You can learn all the secrets of Stine’s writing process from his Masterclass.
Source.

 

Alice Walker

Alice Walker Writing Desk
Alice Walker (b. 1944) is most well known for her novel The Color Purple which has been adapted to a movie and a Broadway musical. For three decades of her writing career, Walker wrote every morning or at least set that aside as dedicated time to think about her writing. She found this helped increase her creative receptivity.
Photo source: Writers at Work Tumblr

Philip Roth

Philip Roth Writes at a Standing Desk
Before he retired from writing, Philip Roth exclusively used standing desks, with one in his Upper West Side work studio and another at his house in the woods of Connecticut. He keeps his desks near windows and says he would pace for about half a mile for every page he writes.
Source.


Need your own writing desk? Check out these corner desks with hutches, white writing desks, and desks for small spaces.


10 Health Tips for Writers – Stay Healthy & Productive

Writing, like many modern careers, is a very sedentary job. You spend hours at a desk researching, writing, and rewriting. Add in reading time as well and most of your day is spent sitting. On the surface that seems fine, but over the years more and more articles and studies have come out revealing how dangerous sitting is for our health. Since sitting can increase your risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer, it’s good to start building healthy habits into your work routine early in your career. For this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best health tips for writers. Following these tips will not only help you stay healthy, but they’ll also boost your mood and improve productivity as well.

10 Health Tips for Writers - Stay Healthy & Productive

10 Health Tips for Writers

1. Get Up & Move

On a good writing day, where you’re really slaying your word count goals, you can go hours hunched over the keyboard. But this is terrible for your body! A study of sedentary behavior and mortality in adults determined we should get up and move every 30 minutes. Of course, the big challenge with doing this is actually remembering to take that break. When you’re in the flow you probably need some help to remember to take those breaks. Here are a few recommendations:

The Pomodoro Technique – The time management trick the Pomodoro Technique is perfect for writers because it helps increase productivity with natural breaks built in. How it works is you select a task you need to do (like writing your next chapter or article) and then set a timer for 25 minutes. Until that timer goes off, you focus 100% on your task. Once time is up, you get a short break (5 minutes is recommended). This is your time to get up, stretch your legs, refill your coffee, or scroll through Twitter a bit. Just make sure you get up and move around. After your break, you set the timer again. After four of these Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break (like 20-30 minutes). This is a good time to get a snack, do some stretching, or get outside (more on this later).

Some writers completely structure their day using Pomodoro and find great success.

Break Apps – There are tons of apps out there to remind you to take a break. You can even use the default Reminders app in your phone to schedule a break every 30 minutes. For your computer, I recommend Stretchly, a free open-sourced application for Windows & Mac computers. It’s customizable and reminds you to take micro-breaks and regular breaks, with suggestions to stretch and get up.

Fitness Trackers with Move Reminders – If you’re already looking to add a fitness tracker to your life to help you reach fitness goals, look for a band or smartwatch with move reminders. These trackers not only track your steps and calories burned but your general movement. If you haven’t gotten up in an hour, they will buzz or chime with a reminder to get up and get moving. I love fitness trackers in general because they help me track how much (or little) activity I’m getting in a day so I can help keep my sedentary lifestyle in check.

2. Give Your Eyes a Break

Since you’re probably spending most of your working hours staring at a screen, you need to think about eye health as well. Computer eyestrain is a real health issue that can cause huge problems. Researchers have found that people blink half as often when looking at a screen than they do normally. This can cause dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. When you take your “move” breaks, give your eyes a break as well. A good rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at an object at least 20 feet away.

As you walk around the room or head to the kitchen, stroll past a window and look outside or look across the room. Every two hours you should take a longer break (like the Pomodoro technique suggests) where you use zero screens. This is a good time to take a walk outside, exercise, or meditate.



3. Establish Regular Exercise Routine

When I left my office job to freelance from home, suddenly I realized the importance of a regular exercise routine. I quickly slipped into the habit of wearing my PJs all day and barely doing anything physical beyond walking to the kitchen for more tea. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but often it slips by the way-side. Building an exercise habit or regularly scheduled routine is the best way to make sure you’re getting enough fitness into your week. Physically write it in your calendar or schedule it like a meeting.

Get a gym membership and actually go. Or sign up for yoga or pilates classes. If you’re tight on budget or time, use online fitness videos or browse the offerings on Youtube. If you make exercise an important part of your schedule, you’ll be more likely to follow through on your fitness goals, plus your mind and body will benefit.

Healthy Writer Tips: Walk Outdoors

4. Take Walks (or Runs) Outdoors

Unplugging from your computer for 20-30 minutes a day has huge benefits for your mind and your body. One of the best additions I made to my freelance schedule was a mid-day walk. After lunch each day I walk for 30-40 minutes in the park near my house. This time is so wonderful because it allows me to unplug, destress, and connect with nature. If the weather is horrible, I’ll hop on my elliptical for 30 minutes instead. Besides the physical benefits, walking can lift your mood and give a nice long break from your computer screen, benefiting your eyes and body.

If you’re worried about “wasting time,” use your walk to be productive. It can be thinking time (I’ve solved a lot of writer’s block out on my walks), you can listen to audiobooks or podcasts, you can even dictate your writing use speech to text on your phone.

5. Turn Your Desk Into an Exercise Machine

Many writers and other sedentary office workers are modifying their workstations to help them be more active. Standing desks keep you on your feet while you work. You can be even more active by getting an under-desk elliptical trainer to exercise while you work. And if you really want to invest in an active set-up, consider a treadmill or biking desk to really let you work-out as you type.

If those changes are bit too pricey, consider some easier “hacks” to a traditional desk. Spend an hour each day working standing at the kitchen counter with your computer propped on a box. Get an exercise ball to sit on instead of an office chair. It will keep your core engaged as you work. These balance balls are also great at helping improve posture and prevent slouching.


6. Snack Mindfully & Take Breaks for Real Meals

If you work from home, it’s easy to grab unhealthy snack foods and mindlessly stuff your face while your full attention is on your work. Instead, make sure you schedule in a lunch break where you eat a full balanced meal away from your desk (it can count as one of your long breaks). When you need mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-ups, reach for healthy snacks. I like to keep nuts, baby carrots, oranges, and berries on hand. They’re easy to grab and snack on while I work, but also delicious and completely healthy.

7. Stay Hydrated

We’ve all heard the benefits of drinking more water, but are we actually practicing it? My big issue is I get in the zone working for hours and then it’s dinner time and I’m so thirsty. Keep water on hand. I have a big water bottle I keep on my desk and when I take my long breaks I make sure to walk to the kitchen to fill it up. Whenever I’m thirsty, I have plenty of water to drink.

Health Tips for Writers - Stay Healthy & Productive: Stretch Regularly

8. Take Regular Breaks to Stretch Wrists, Hands, and Back

Often when we talk about the pitfalls of desk jobs a lot of focus is given to back pain from poor posture or sitting for long periods of time. Another body part to worry about is our hands, wrists, and arms. Writing requires a lot of typing and those repetitive motions can lead to all sorts of injuries and issues.

To counteract this, there are plenty of stretches and exercises you can do to target these parts of your body. If you’re regularly exercising or doing things like yoga, you may not need to stretch your back as much, but your wrists and hands will definitely need some love. I like to follow short “office yoga” routines that incorporate stretches for all parts of the body. (A 5 minute routine and a 10 minute standing sequence you can try). I try to do these hand and wrist stretches at least once a day. Regular stretching during your breaks will help eliminate pain, reduce fatigue, and let you come back to work relaxed and energized.

9. Meditate

If you’ve never tried meditation before, you may be wondering why I recommend it for writers. I actually recommend meditation for everyone. A regular meditation practice brings tons of benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressures, and boosted immunities. It also helps increase creativity and focus–two very necessary things to sit down and write a story or article. When I’m feeling frazzled or having trouble focusing, a quick 10 minutes meditation helps me approach my writing with new clarity.

While you can use meditation any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or need to pause and calm your mind, I think a regular habit scheduled into your day will be the most beneficial. Try using a meditation app or guided meditations to build a regular practice.

10. Keep a Regular Schedule (Including Sleep)

If you’re working from home, freelancing, or fortunate enough to be able to focus full-time on your novel, your time is your own. You can work whenever and wherever you want. And that can be a lot of fun: staying up late, wearing PJs if you want, taking a Tuesday off to play. But the lack of structure can be damaging to your productivity and your health.

While you should embrace your flexibility, make sure you’re keeping a regular schedule for yourself. This regularity will make it easier to keep healthy habits like meditation and exercise, as well as making sure you’ve designated time for writing. It’s also important to try and keep your sleep schedule consistent as well. Set an alarm each day and make sure you get up when it goes off. It’s up to you if you want it to be 6 am or 11 am, but make sure you’re getting the full 8 hours of sleep. This consistency will help you sleep better and make sure you’re well rested to get your writing done.


Looking for more tips to enhance your writing life? Learn how to get out of a writing rut and how to set writing goals you can actually achieve.

How to Set Writing Goals You Can Actually Achieve

If you decided to click on this article, I’m guessing you’ve struggled with achieving your writing goals in the past. It’s not surprising, most people grapple with meeting goals and expectations and often find failure. Whether it’s time to set New Year’s Resolutions or you’re planning a new writing project, you can help increase your chance of success by using a few tips to set your intention properly. Use one or all of these recommendations to help you meet your deadlines and up your writing game.

How to Set Writing Goals You Can Actually Achieve

How to Set Achievable Writing Goals

1. Set Realistic Achievable Goals

Sometimes when setting goals, it’s easy to shoot for the moon. Writing a novel in a month sounds great, but if you can barely write 200 words in a day, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Take into consideration your writing process, your other obligations, and any deadlines when setting quantity goals. If you’ve been struggling with writer’s block or trying to start a new project, feel free to go easy on yourself. It’s better to set a low goal of 200 words a day and overshoot it most days than to set an ambitious goal of 500 words a day and miss it most days.

If you have big goals in mind, like writing a novel, make sure to break that project up into mini goals with firm time frames. Give yourself daily, weekly, or monthly word count goals and set a “deadline” date for yourself. This will help you avoid procrastination and make the big goal more manageable and less overwhelming.

2. Set Goals You Can Control

As you’re brainstorming your writing goals, make sure you identify any goals that are beyond your control. While selling a story to a prized magazine, winning a big literary award or getting into an exclusive writing workshop are worthwhile dreams to work toward, you can’t control the outcome of those situations. Instead, you should identify steps you can take to work toward those dreams and set them as your goals.

If you want to sell a short story to a well-known magazine, set goals like writing X short stories in a year or sending out XX submissions to editors. Those goals will help you in two ways: you’ll write stories that the magazine could potentially buy and you’re getting more practice as a writer, which increases your chance of being published.

How to Set Writing Goals You Can Achieve

3. Write Your Goals Down

This might seem like a given, but it’s surprising the number of people who do not write down their goals. If you just keep your writing goals in your head, you’re far more likely to fail to achieve them. So get out a piece of paper or record them on your computer or phone. Record each project, break down the different steps, and set deadlines for each one.



4. Share Your Goals

This is another trick to ensure your success. Share your writing goals with your spouse, friends, or mentor. This will make you 65% more likely to reach your goals. To improve your success even further, have an accountability partner that you check in with regularly. This can be another friend who is a writer or a writers group in person or online. Not only will this relationship help you achieve your goals, but it gives you someone to commiserate with when you’re fighting writer’s block or getting frustrated by rejection.

5. Set Aside Dedicated Writing Time

Building a regular writing habit in your life is one of the best ways to set yourself up to success when it comes to writing goals. When you set a dedicated time to write and build a regular habit, it will make it easier to get your words done each day. Just like how you have an early morning habit of taking a shower, getting dressed, and brushing your teeth, your writing practice can become an “automatic” process.

Pick a frequency and time in your schedule that will work for you. Whether it’s every day or certain days of the week, put it on your calendar as an official appointment with yourself. If you have a job and family obligations, you may have to be a little creative. If you make writing time a priority, you will be more likely to meet the goals you’ve set.

Read some tips on how to find time to write.

Set Aside Dedicated Writing Time to Achieve Your Goals

6. Track Your Progress

The more often you monitor your progress toward a goal, the more likely you are to achieve that goal. This is one of the reasons word count tracking spreadsheets are so popular with writers. You may have to try a few different systems before you find the right one for you. For me, habit tracking was more useful that word tracking since I spend a lot of time rewriting and editing, so I use a habit tracking app instead.

At a minimum, you should regularly read over your goals, note your progress, and make adjustments to your plan.


Looking for more ways to inspire your writing? Read these inspirational writing quotes. Check out these tools to destroy writer’s block. These movies about writers will give your brain a writing break and inspire you at the same time. These inspirational books on writing will remind you about what you love about the craft. And these quirky pens will add some fun to your writing routine. Make sure to follow these healthy living tips for writers.

Toni Morrison Writing Quote

50 Inspiring Quotes About Writing

All writers know the drill. Things are going great, you’re speeding along on a new draft or just finished a story you’re proud of. Then it hits. Maybe it’s writer’s block, self-doubt, or your internal critic getting in the way. Either way, you need a little inspiration to keep going. This page is a collection of 50 inspiring quotes to get you through those challenges and remind you of the magic of writing.

“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.” – Tim O’Brien


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
–Louis L’Amour


“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
-Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Writing Quote


“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
― Terry Pratchett


“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”
–Jane Yolen


“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.”
–Mary Lee Settle


“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson


“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King


“You can fix anything but a blank page.”
–Nora Roberts




“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”
–Edgar Rice Burroughs


“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.”
–Ralph Keyes


“Good writing is rewriting.”
–Truman Capote


“When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.'”
-Stephen King
Stephen King Writing Quote


“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle


“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
–Neil Gaiman


“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block


“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”
–C. J. Cherryh


“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
–Anaïs Nin


“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
–Ernest Hemingway



“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
― Aldous Huxley


“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham


“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter


“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
—Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury Writing Quote


“A word after a word after a word is power.”
― Margaret Atwood


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
–Anton Chekhov


“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”
― Philip José Farmer


“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee


“I hate writing, I love having written.”
― Dorothy Parker


“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
-E.L. Doctorow


“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
―Octavia E. Butler


“Ideas aren’t magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down.”
― Lynn Abbey


“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.”
-Elie Wiesel


“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
–Stephen King


“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
― Agatha Christie


“Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.”
― Eudora Welt


“If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”
― David Mitchell


“A good book isn’t written, it’s rewritten.”
― Phyllis A. Whitney


“Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.”
― Khaled Hosseini


“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
― Jodi Picoult


“Read deeply. Stay open. Continue to wonder.”
― Austin Kleon


“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
― Gloria Steinem


“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”
-Isaac Asimov


“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
-Richard Bach
Richard Bach Writing Quote


“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
― Octavia Butler,


“Nothing’s a better cure for writer’s block than to eat ice cream right out of the carton.”
― Don Roff


“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath


“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”
― Samuel Johnson


“Yes, the story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.”
-Jules Renard


“Don’t get it right – get it WRITTEN!”
― Lee Child


Still need some inspiration? Check out this article on how to get out of a writing rut and these inspirational books for writers. Unstick your story with these tools for destroying writer’s block.

Check out these photos of famous authors at their writing desks to help you get in the writing mood.

How to Get Out of a Writing Rut & Beat Writer’s Block

How to Get Out of a Writing Rut & Beat Writer's Block
It’s inevitable: eventually, every writer hits a rut. Whether you’ve lost steam on a project, gotten stuck, aren’t feeling inspired, or are floundering between projects, it feels terrible when you’re creatively blocked. Often referred to as writer’s block, it’s really an umbrella term that captures so many different ways writers can struggle. While some blocks are bumps that you can just work through, a bigger creative block can be a challenge that stops all productivity for days, months, or even years.

While breaks can be beneficial to the creative process, if you need to get work done and are really struggling there are some things you can try to break through the block and get back to writing.

Build (or Rebuild) a Regular Writing Habit

A regular writing schedule is the key to success for many authors. It helps not only to set aside time each day to write but also trains your brain to switch into creative mode. If you’ve gotten out of the writing habit or find it difficult to work regularly, scheduling writing time and building a regular writing habit may kick your writer’s block to the curb.

First, you should select a time that works well with your other responsibilities and your own creative needs. Stephen King writes first thing in the morning. Many writers with office jobs use their lunch breaks to work on their projects or if they’re a night owl, they scribble their words before bed. Try a few different times to see what works best for you.

Next, you should select a frequency for your scheduled writing time. The old common advice is that you must write every day. If that works for you, great! If not, throw it to the curb and schedule it yourself. Maybe you can dedicate time on certain days of the week, or you want to be a weekend warrior who dedicates an entire Saturday to writing. Just choose a time that works for you, that you can maintain regularly. If you’re struggling, learn how to find time to write in your busy schedule.

To really help keep the writer’s block away, build some rituals into your writing time. Brew a cup of tea or coffee. Get a treat you enjoy. Sit in the same place, open your notebook or word processing program. While they seem insignificant, these “getting ready” steps signal to your brain that it’s time to write, which will help you switch into creative mode.

Free Write

Whether you’re stuck on your novel or the well of ideas is dry, you’ll have an easier time getting out of your rut if you continue to work creatively. Get a notebook or journal or just create a new document, set a timer, and free write. You can do stream of consciousness writing or use writing prompts to kickstart your session. There are no rules to what you write or how you write.

The freedom of a freewriting session is perfect to kickstart new ideas or help silence an internal critique that’s putting to much pressure on you. If you’re looking for new inspiration, you may find the perfect story or character idea in your freewriting exercise. Try these plot generators to help give you an idea.



Let Yourself Be Playful

Writing games can help breath new creativity into a stale project or give inspiration for new stories. These can be literal board games that require storytelling or just writing exercises that allow you to be playful and take away any pressure to meet deadlines or expectations.

Language is a Virus has a ton of games and idea generators you can give a try.

Check out some of our favorite games and tools to destroy writer’s block. I like to keep a few on hand to pull out when I’m feeling really stuck.

“Let Go” and Read

Take the time that you’re dedicating to writing and instead of staring in frustration at a blank page or screen, turn it into reading time. Pick a favorite book or collection to revisit or try out that exciting new book sitting in your “to be read” pile. Exposing yourself to writing you love and enjoy can help get the creative juices flowing again and remind you why you enjoy writing in the first place. Once you’ve filled your creative reserves and feel inspired again, pick up your pen and get back to work.

Take a Break for Other Creative Hobbies

To be totally honest, there will be times that you are so burnt out you cannot write. Usually, the best thing to do it take a break. While you may want to veg out and binge Netflix, make sure you’re using some of that writing time to pursue other creative hobbies. Often we start writing because it’s our favorite hobby and it can easily start to feel like a “job,” especially when you have deadlines and editors to please.

Making time for other creative hobbies can really help you reset your exhausted writing brain and help you flex those muscles in a different way. Drawing, crocheting, gardening, and crafts are great hobbies that give you a different way to express yourself and also create a satisfying end product.

Eventually, you’ll start to feel the creative pull to return to writing. Don’t drop your other hobbies completely! Keeping some variety in your creative routine will help prevent writing burn out in the future.


Looking for more ways to inspire you and avoid writer’s block? Read these inspirational writing quotes. Check out these tools to destroy writer’s block. Learn how to set writing goals you can actually achieve. These movies about writers will give your brain a writing break and inspire you at the same time. These inspirational books on writing will remind you about what you love about the craft. And these quirky pens will add some fun to your writing routine. Make sure to follow these healthy living tips for writers.