Hopefully, you’ve given some thought as when is the best time to write, as well as where is the best place to write. Even if these decisions are works in progress, needing to be fine-tuned, you need to move on.
Now we get to the question of what to write. Although, it may seem a nonsensical query; for some, especially those just starting out, it is not. Here are some ideas:
- If you have a project, you need to be working on it. This is an obvious answer—if you have a project.
- Work on a potential project, something that could turn into a project. That is, work on an article or a book that you could sell in the future. Write a query letter or proposal for this project.
However, if you’re just starting out, you likely need to develop and hone your writing skills before seriously embarking on a project. So, here are some more ideas:
- Blogging is a great way to release creative ideas and develop a writing style. (I don’t put Facebook in this category, though I do know some who compose intriguing and well-written posts. I do not recommend journaling or keeping a diary as worthy writing exercises either; they are too informal, introspective, and narcissist—however, they may provide useful fodder for a future memoir.)
- Write book or movie reviews. Work on developing a reviewer style and on being concise, fair, and helpful. Avoid the mistake of many professional reviewers—being unnecessarily critical or writing a review merely to call attention to your skill as a writer.
- Writing exercises are other worthy considerations. “Exercising” will get you in the habit of writing and provide opportunities to develop your skills. Here are some ideas for writing exercises.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.