Here are some writing tips which will help if you’re wondering whether you’re a “real” writer.
It hurts to admit it, but some common writers’ traits are anti-social.
William Faulkner said:
The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much that he can’t get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.
Here’s how to tell if you’re a real writer…
1. Your Attention Is Always Divided: make the most of it.
No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, part of your consciousness is always on your writing. You’ve no doubt been accused of being absent-minded, or a “dreamer”, more than once.
Since that’s the way you are, stop apologizing for it, and make the most of it. Jot down ideas. Snap images with your cell phone camera. If anyone comments on this, smile broadly, tell them “I love writing, it’s a wonderful career”, and turn the conversation to something else.
Be aware that people love to help writers — interview them, whether they’re a relative or an acquaintance. Record the interview.
(Sooner or later, your nearest and dearest will accept you for who you are, and won’t mention what you’re doing.)
2. Everything’s a Story to You: use whatever happens to you.
The best day of your life, and the worst, have something in common: you wonder how you’ll use those experiences in your writing.
You pay careful attention to conflicts in your life, because you know you’ll use those conflicts in your writing, sooner or later.
When disaster strikes, you’re wondering if you can get an article, or maybe even a book, out of it.
You’ll rarely use your personal disasters until sufficient time has passed. This means that you’ll struggle to remember people, situations, and feelings later, when you do want to write about it. Be aware of this. Make notes: describe situations, explore your feelings, and snap images which will help you later — perhaps years later.
3. You Feel Great when Your Writing’s Going Well: develop new projects.
A great writing session energizes you and makes you happy.
If you’ve had a horrible writing session, you’re depressed.
Although you may hate writing at times, you’re happier when you write.
During these high-energy times when you’re writing’s going well, brainstorm and begin new projects.
4. You Both Love and Resent Other Writers: learn from the best.
You adore your writing heroes. You resent them too. You spend a lot of time wondering why you can’t write like _______ (your favorite writer.)
You can. Learn from them. Take notes while you read.
Take notes about the BAD, as well as the good. I love Regency romances. Sadly, some of these are very bad — beyond bad. Horrible. Recently I read 30 pages of a Regency (I couldn’t finish it) which had a duke running around like a modern-day single parent. The writer hadn’t thought her character through at all. This was a great example of what not to do.
5. Many of Your Greatest Friends Have Been Dead for Years: read their biographies.
You look on your writing heroes as friends. Some of them have been dead for years. I adore PG Wodehouse, Charles Dickens, Georgette Heyer, and Anthony Trollope. They’re alive to me. They’ll always be my friends.
You can learn a lot about writing when you read the biographies of your writing heroes. You’ll discover how they found time to write, even though they had busy, and sometimes tempestuous lives.
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