Things I’ve learned about writing

How do you do it? You do it.
You write.
You finish what you write.

-words of wisdom from Neil

In November 2006 I started writing Kiki. So that’s about 18 months, give or take. There have been numerous times when I felt like I couldn’t go on, that what I was doing was pointless or that I was a talentless dreamer.

Along the way I’ve learned some stuff that I’ve mentioned piecemeal in this blog or talked to people about. I thought I’d collect up the basic points here for ease.

First thing’s first. Don’t talk yourself out of starting. This happens a lot. I had heaps of trouble starting Kiki because I was all “I don’t know how it’s going to end” and “I don’t have a good story” etc. You can tell yourself this over and over again and become too scared to do anything at all. So, pushing yourself past the negative voice telling you that you can’t do it is the first thing.

Once you’ve got something on paper it can be easy to put it down and not pick it up again. This is because there is always something else that you could be doing, like housework or craft or reading a book or spending time with loved ones. All of which are valid pursuits, but will not get you anything written. Making a special time when you write works. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day and you get two pages, that’s two pages you wouldn’t have had otherwise, and the pages do add up.

Writing is hard and it’s difficult and you will want to give up. There’s no way around this, it’s true and all you can do is keep on going. I’ve noticed that if I’m not getting anything done it’s because I’m not in the write mindset yet, I can sit for an hour with a word document open and play around on facebook to avoid writing. It’s happened. What I’ll do is I’ll get up and do something completely different, like housework, craft or spending time with loved ones. Then you get some distance from the procrastination and oftentimes I can come back and get some writing done, once I’ve unwound.

Write whenever you can. In bed at night instead of reading. In your lunch hour in a quiet place. At a cafe. While you are waiting for someone to turn up. When you have a spare ten minutes before you have to leave the house.

Here’s an old link of rules for writing.

From way back at the start of this adventure, a post about motivation.

Other tips: Read a lot, and read in the genre you are writing for to get a feel for the market, the styles, what to put in and what to leave out.

Don’t read a book that is too similar to what you are writing. I am putting off reading Soon I will be Invincible because it is a superhero novel. I don’t mind reading Batman graphic novels because thematically they are pretty different to WtWTCH but Invincible is a comedic book, like I’m trying to write. So I’m going to wait to read it until I’ve finished my manuscript. This way I won’t inadvertently or subconsciously plagiarise it.

Write the way you want to. I love writing longhand in pretty notebooks and then typing it up later. You might want to keep it all digital. You might want to get someone else to do the typing. Find what works for you and then work it.

If this entry’s been a bit all over the place or preachy, it’s because I meant to post it yesterday (wrote half) but then got distracted by Speed Racer.

PoF: PJs
CO: swing

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3 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned about writing

  1. *hugs* You are awesome writer woman!
    I felt a burst of affection when I read “If this entry’s been a bit all over the place or preachy, it’s because I meant to post it yesterday (wrote half) but then got distracted by Speed Racer.”
    I can just so understand that happening ❤

  2. And something else to procrastinate your time… I found this site while reading the entire internet.
    http://www.lulu.com/
    It’s a self-publishing site where you submit the content, and they do all the publishing etc, but all the rights (and wrongs if it uploads incorrectly) are yours to deal with. I have no idea if this is the direction you want to go or not, but thought no harm in mentioning it 🙂
    I’m thinking about getting my blog done into yearly volumes, just for me. I also want to publish my family tree (once I’ve finished) just for my family. I’ve been wanting to do something like that for years, so I’m quite excited about it.
    Now to get my blogging up to date *sigh*

  3. Lulu are good for printing nicely bound softcover books. Postage is a little steep though (I put together a Kapcon SDC sampler, about 80 pages long, nice glossy cover, made 4 or 5 copies at about $10 each, would have been $14 each if postage hadn’t been free thanks to a special offer).
    There’s an outfit in Auckland that do the same sort of stuff – haven’t checked out the final product though. Print on demand is cool for little projects like that 🙂

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