Seressia Glass

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Writing Advice in Six Words or Less

Posted Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
Posted in Writing | Comments Off on Writing Advice in Six Words or Less

 

There’s a meme going around asking about writing advice in six words or less. I haven’t looked at the comments, so I don’t know if these are repeats, but these are my six pieces of advice in six words or less, ordered from one word to six words. Here we go:

  1. READ. It is a fundamental fact: writers began as readers. We love words, and this is where our love of words, of storytelling, began. Something we read somewhere–something written as if a gift from angels or so atrocious we thought we could do better–inspired us to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. We write because we read. If you don’t read…
  2. START WRITING. It’s really simple: You can’t finish if you don’t begin.  You are not a writer because you talk about writing or attend workshops and conferences. You are a writer because you write, no matter the obstacles. Which takes me to number three…
  3. DON’T STOP WRITING. You know what? Life happens. Sometimes it is glorious, sometimes you get shit on. The real trick is to keep going in spite of the highs and the lows. Or better yet, use those highs and lows as inspiration to write.  And by the way…
  4. DON’T WAIT FOR INSPIRATION. Sometimes inspiration strikes. When it does, it’s a good thing, especially if you can harness it to fuel your writing process. The problem is not writing until you’re inspired. That’s just stupid. Now, if you’re writing a diary or just to amuse yourself and a couple of friends, no problem. If you want to be a paid, professional writer, you can’t afford to wait for inspiration. It is a calling, but it is also a job, a career. It’s work. How else are you going to pay for high-speed Internet? Which reminds me…
  5. STOP PLAYING GAMES AND WRITE. This one is my personal Kryptonite. Facebook, Twitter, Solitaire, Catch the Dust Bunnies–these are all things I have done to “take a break” from writing. Then suddenly that quick five minute break becomes half an hour, three hours, then you realize it’s Sunday night and you have to go back to the day job that’s really starting to piss you off and if you could just write and sell your story, you’d be set…erm, yeah. Not that I think that by any means. I like my day job. It keeps me in high-speed Internet and healthcare. But I’d like for my fiction writing to do that for me.
  6. WHEN ALL SEEMS LOST, KEEP WRITING. I’ve been there. A contract doesn’t get re-upped. You leave a publisher in self-defense. You write a Dear Jane letter to your agent. Your Great American Novel idea gets rejected. You wonder if you’re ever going to sell another story, or even come up with an idea worth writing. Fear, like life, happens. It can immobilize you, makes you think how much you love your day job and how you can keep doing it for the next 25 years with no problem because it’s keeping you in healthcare and high speed Internet. It makes you say, I can’t do it today, I’ll write tomorrow. You’re depressed and irritable and belatedly you realize it’s because you haven’t written a sentence in however long. Again, this is where you learn to fear your fear, your loss,  and crush its head under your fabulous stilettos. Write a revenge paragraph. Make a list that answers the question, “What If?” Do something completely different from what you’ve been doing. Your brain, your muse, and your ability will all sigh in relief and get you back on track with the crafting of the story.

So that’s it. My top six pieces of writing advice, in six words or less. If I may,though it’s outside of the meme, I’ve give you a seventh one, in seven words: ALWAYS REWARD YOURSELF FOR REACHING “THE END.” It is an accomplishment to be proud of, proof that you can and have done the six things above. I’m going to hit number seven this week, and I’m going to reward myself with some potato chips. Or maybe wine. Heck, I might even play a game on Facebook. On second thought, maybe I’ll just read a book. That will start the cycle all over again, and it’s a beautiful thing.

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