As a beginning knitter, I was recently introduced to the concept of lifelines, which help knitters avoid having to start over when they make mistakes. And I thought, I bet we can apply this concept to writing, too. Here are three ways to create lifelines for yourself as a writer:
1) Surround yourself with support.
First, let’s step away from the notion that writing must be done in complete isolation. Yes, you’ll spend some time working in solitude. But, unless you plan to never show your writing to anyone, ever, you’ll talk to someone about it at some point. So, why not start out including someone in your process? It could be a friend, family member, spouse, another writer, a whole writing group. All that matters is you find people who will encourage you to keep going even when all seems lost.
2) Save it for later.
Speaking of things getting lost, avoid losing your work. Lots of programs auto save now, so that helps, but it doesn’t hurt to double check and also pay attention to where your work is being saved for future access. To take it a step further, you might want to save multiple versions of your work as you go. This is a piece of advice I’m learning to follow myself. Because I make changes even as I write, I sometimes end up losing specific wording that would have worked.
3) Skip the small fixes (for now).
As someone who edits while writing, I know how hard it is to resist the urge. But, when we focus all our attention on those tiny details like spelling or word choice or punctuation, we lose sight of the bigger project, the point of what we’re doing. Sometimes, writers get so bogged down and frustrated that they end up scrapping all their work. So, if you can even reach a compromise of editing less as you write, the process should be more manageable and productive.