Thursday, April 7, 2011
Writing habits--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
*Wait a beat of silence*
I just realized how stupid that was. To know everything would imply perfection, and no one is perfect. Not even if you're J. K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer or Oprah. Though sometimes I wonder if Oprah might just be some alien from a different planet that's so much more awesome than ours, thus giving her super-awesome-alien powers that allow her to do a million things at once. But that's besides the point. The point is we never stop growing and learning and so I wanted to talk about writing habits; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
These are things that we should all be doing.
1.) Write Daily.
I don't care if you're tired, or if a new book came out that you just-cannot-put-down (City of Fallen Angels, cough cough). I don't care if your fingers fall off, then you should probably write with your toes. I don't even care if your dog ate your story. Writing daily is essential, see why here.
Every writer writes differently, and I would never presume that just because something works for me means it works for you, too. But this works. Trust me. If you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor wondering what the heck happens next, you should probably make one of these. While it wont give you the answers to what happens next, it will keep every single thought you had about your story so organized that it'll make finding out what happens next easier. To make a story board all you need is a white board, sticky notes, and dry erase makers. I could go into all the details and steps but they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so...
3.) Cookies, Doritos, and doughnuts. Not necessarily in that order.
Do I even have to elaborate on this one? Tell your body and your personal trainer that it's for "creative purposes" and if that doesn't work, tell them it's "Brittany's orders". And then do five jumping jacks to lessen the guilt.
4.) Family = free cheerleaders.
Give me an A, give me a B, give me a They-have-no-choice-but-to-love-anyway! So don't shut them out. Tell them how your story is going, tell them you love them when they buy you cookies for "creative purposes."
When you get up in the morning, take some time to grab this and shove it in your pocket. Carry this with you everywhere; to the bathroom, to work, to the office. Never let anyone take it from you.
6.) Write Freely.
If you're passionate about it, write it. When it comes to writing, where your heart leads you is probably the right direction.
These are things you should not do...like ever.
1.) Compare and Contrast.
Unless you're in English class, you'll want to avoid this. It never turns out well, you will not get a gold star or an A. There will always be someone who writes better than you, and there will always be someone who doesn't. If you focus on either, you will start doubting yourself or your ego will expand to Godzilla proportions. The trick is to be fazed by neither.
2.) Call writer's block, Writer's Block.
If you don't call it by it's name, it does not exist. All the power is in the name, people. Let me tell you why. Once we say we have writer's block, it's like we accept its existence and the fact that we can't change it. So we wait, and wait...and wait for it to leave. But in doing this, we waste precious time and creative juices watching bad reality tv and feeling sorry for ourselves. If we refuse to call it by its name, that means we refuse to give up, we refuse to accept the fact that we're suck. I'm starting a movement to de-name writer's block. I have a feeling this needs its own blog post.
These are worse than the bad.
1.) Hi, my name is Suck.
These are days where your writing sucks and you suck and life and the universe and everything ever invented sucks (with the exception of cookies, Doritos, and doughnuts). There is no cure for these days, you must just Step Away From The Computer.
There's tons more Good, Bad, and Ugly. But I can't think of anything else. Feel free to share if you think of something.