The Grammar Police will cheerfully place your missing commas and apostrophes. Woe will be your receipt for their errant additions! When in doubt, leave punctuation out. ~T~
Here you see the tools I use to keep moving on my writing. The binder packet is kept in my mobile book bag – it has stickies, hilighters, pens, markers, binder clips, earbuds, reading glasses, and a digital audio recorder. You should build one of these for yourself if you’re a writier.
The book shown here (The Art Of War For Writers) is one of several that I keep around me. I can highly recommend this particular book as a self-check, self-help, motivational coach to keep you from getting buried in the mud mentally. When I’m feeling sluggish about my work, or when I’m having trouble developing a character, setting or dialogue, I will often reach for a book on writing and just flip it open. Kismet can be a marvelous thing and if you’re like me, you’ll often find the answer to a conundrum hidden within the subtext of a head-clearing bike ride, the random flip of a book page or several moments strung together with your eyes closed, sprawled out on the floor.
This business of writing is not for sissies. If I were flying commercial airplanes for a living I would be well acquainted with mechanical maintenance, preflight checklists and takeoff procedures. Once I put my plane in the air I have no choice but to land it somehow. My passengers are depending on me, so they are certainly on my mind – I am aware of them. At the same time though, the passengers are a secondary concern most of the time because my safety is on the line as well; I’m equally interested in a successful, event-free landing.
When writing, your readers are your passengers. When you get that storyline going it is imperative that you check to make sure the story is sound, that it will hold up under scrutiny. Then you need to go through your checklists to be sure the sub-plots and characters within the story are plausible, relatable, and that everything will work together seamlessly before heading down the runway. Once you’re “in the air”, you’re committed. This is not the time you want to lose your head, give up and release the yoke. Before takeoff make sure you have the strategies in place to help you over those rough spots. You know they’re going to happen, right? Anticipate the problems and know where to go so you can quickly resume your momentum. Keep working at it, and bring that big bird in safely!
Wait, what…? Are those cheers I’m hearing from the cabin?
Paper. Pen. Idea.
We’ve all done it, thrown ourselves full throttle into a new interest, hobby or business venture. Many folks even dive in financially, buying up all the fancy and “necessary” tools of the trade before the work has begun. Then, 30 days later, poof. The muse has exited, the shine is off, and we’re left with only a mirror reminding us that we failed. What a dreadful way to treat ourselves!
One of the reasons that I refuse to stop writing (aside from the fact that I adore the process) is that the tools are always at my disposal. Paper. Pen. Idea. From there you can move into critiquing, editing, proofreading, heck even crumpling it up into a fun cat toy and tossing it in the trash when puss is through playing with it.
I suppose the roughest part of being a writer is the fact that you have to be somewhat introspective. It’s a difficult thing to look at yourself objectively and then expect to grow something original out of those observations. Yet many wonderful authors will tell you that those very insecurities may propel you into your next story! We can rely on the fact that every person on the planet has insecurities, which means that you really do have a relatable story to tell.
Stop beating yourself up. There are some great blogs and websites to help you push that stone up the mountain. There are wonderful prompts and writing exercises to help you prime the creative pump. Write a poem even though you’re not a poet. Journal. Go to the library and check out this wonderful book.
And if you really have to, go buy yourself a new pen and some new paper. Then drain that ink and fill those pages! ~TH~
As my own life unfurls behind me I am getting more comfortable with the idea of doing things that may seem pointless. Maybe they even are (like my addiction to Sudoku puzzles). Hopefully my (and your) writing won’t be pointless. Here’s a cool article on the subject.
Here’s an excellent article on the writing process. This article points to novel writing, but the information here is easily applied to song writing, short stories, poetry… any kind of writing. If you’re a writer read this. ~TH~