Be an Everyday Writer

A writing tip from Midge Raymond

Even if you don’t have time to sit down at your computer every single day, you can still be writing every day. Learning to think like a writer will ensure that you are always finding inspiration and material, no matter where you are. Even when you’re as far from your writing project as you think you could possibly be, remember: Look, listen, write.

A few examples: When you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or the post office, look around you. Observe the people in line, the ones behind the registers, the ones walking past outside. Take mental notes; give them voices; imagine their lives randomly intersecting. Whether you use these observations to inform a current writing project or to generate new material, you’ll find that all you need as a writer is right there in front of you.

Listening, a.k.a. eavesdropping, is even more fun. It’s best when you hear only a piece of a conversation—then you can let your imagination take over. Instead of letting that loud talker on his cell phone annoy you, note what he’s saying and try to create a poem out of it, or a fictional scene.

And, finally: keep a notebook (or anything to jot down notes on) handy at all times. These little gems will be worth their weight in story when you finally do sit down for that writing session.

Midge Raymond is the author of the short story collection Forgetting English, which received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, and a book for writers, Everyday Writing: Tips and Prompts to Fit Your Regularly Scheduled Life. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Lascaux Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, The Writer, and other publications. Visit her online at

This book provides dozens of tips for busy writers, including how to create your ideal writing space, how to develop habits that work for you, and how to keep your projects moving forward even when you're short on time. Everyday Writing also offers more than 150 prompts to fit into any writer's life, from five-minute prompts you can do in a grocery store line to lengthy prompts that are perfect for a writing retreat. Whether you'd like to generate new material, free yourself from writer's block, or start a revision, these writing exercises provide a way to engage immediately with your work.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.


Wendy said...

Love this advice. If I can add to it... the "jot it down" advice is especially good, because if you think an experience is so vivid that there is no chance you'll ever forget it -- write it down anyway.

I had the chance to go on a road trip with my mom some months ago and I was certain I'd remember most of what went on but jotted some things down anyway. When I went back through my notebook recently... sure enough there were so many lovely details that had completely gone from my mind.


Tanja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanja said...

would even add a couple of other things - learn how to write in the dark, and learn how to read upside down...the reasons are obvious, the possibilities endless...

Midge said...

Thanks for your comments ... I too have to write everything down, or it's gone! And thanks to the bedside notebook and frequent insomnia, I'm getting better at writing in the dark... :)

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