Writing Tip #12 – Side Writing is Real Writing

I love writing. I love teaching. I love teaching writing. I love listening to writers talk about their manuscripts. I love problem solving with writers. I love the delicacy and boldness of writing. These tips are things I’ve learned over the years that have held me in good stead and kept me going through the hard dry times. I hope they help you.

And hey, they are only a minute long. Click here.

Full disclosure: I used to hate side writing. I had this belief that side writing took time away from the real writing. Not true. Side writing gives you insights into the characters and plot which will fuel the so-called real writing. So what is it? Side writing is a series of exercises you can do to explore the world of your story. First, I make a list of all the things I want to explore in the story. My character’s favorite place. A floorplan of their home. A letter from one character to another. An interview of one character. A character’s treasured object. Don’t hold back. Then I put all those things on separate pieces of paper and drop them into a hat. The next day, I set the timer for five minutes and pull one of those pieces of paper and write. When the timer goes off, I pull another piece of paper. And another. I don’t stop until I’m tired. Then I make a new list for the next day. Meanwhile if I have some big picture thoughts, I jot them down. What you are doing in side writing is building insights into your world which will make it richer and deeper. Side writing is real writing.