10 Tips for Getting Started and Staying on Course

  1. Commit to spending just 15 minutes writing every day. You don’t need to write in big blocks of time to be effective and get it done. Get a timer. Use it.
  2. Keep your writing material together and at hand – articles, bibliography, current draft, thesaurus or dictionary, etc. – so it is in place and ready to go when you are.
  3. Label or make notations on hard copies of your source material so you can easily find which article it was that had the information you need right now.
  4. Kick start your thinking. Jot a few thoughts down when you are ready to stop, even just a word or two, to trigger your thoughts when you start up next time.
  5. Try ending in the middle. Starting a new section or paragraph may feel like that first page all over again and take more time to get going. But make sure you jot down a few triggers to get you back in where you left off.
  6. Stop writing while you still have something to say. Kind of like stopping on the downward slope – it’s a lot easier to get going again.
  7. Read through the current draft of your paper to get your mind back into the project.
  8. Do some revising instead of writing new material if you feel stuck. Once you get into the material you will  get the writing machinery moving again.
  9. Train yourself to want to write. Set aside 15 minutes to write everyday, preferably the same time. At first, make yourself stop when the timer goes off. When you consistently want to keep going at the end of the 15 minutes, give yourself permission to keep writing.
  10. Send out query letters. It helps to know someone is interested and waiting to read your work. You need to include a date you think you’ll have the manuscript ready to submit. Make the date realistic but also make it motivating. Give yourself a shorter deadline then you’d like.
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