I got an email after yesterday’s post (where I talked about training, whether it’s training to write, do stand-up comedy, or go fight someone) asking me how someone should train to write.
As I’ve said before, I can’t tell you what to do, or what might work for you. I can only tell you what I do, and you can try it out if you like.
But with that disclaimer, there is one thing that’s universal: you train to write by writing.
If you want to be a writer, write every chance you get. I jot shit down on my iPhone, on Post-It notes, and (unfortunately) on my arms. If I have an idea, I write it down somewhere. I’m fortunate enough to have a better-than-average visual memory, so once I write something down, I rarely need to look at it again… but the aphorism holds true. Write every chance you get.
When I first got back into writing, it helped me to set a word goal. In 2009, I committed to writing no less than 500 words a night, no matter what else was going on in my life. I posted everything I wrote on Twitter, because that kept me accountable… and just like that, I got back into the habit of writing. I was training to write.
Also, I try to maximize and prioritize my brain time. Brain cycles that could be spent zoning out in traffic or reading magazine covers in line at Target (and there’s always a line at the Target by my house) get re-tasked to thinking about story problems, character development, and dinner (I do like to eat, after all). But I try to convert idle time into productive time where I can. This includes places like the gym, or lunch breaks at work.
Apart from saying “write a lot,” though, I really can’t give much productive advice on how to train yourself to be a writer… though maybe you folks can in the comments?