Practice, Practice, Practice
The first thing an (aspiring) writer needs to understand is that writing is a craft.
Writing requires diligence, discipline and continuous practice to perfect. That means regularly writing down the next paragraph of whatever it is you’re working on – whether every Tuesday at two, every day from seven to eight, or every Sunday afternoon. If the paragraph amounts to a page, so much the better: the point is to keep on writing, practicing and perfecting your craft.
Writing requires diligence, discipline and continuous
practice to perfect.
And, yes, writing is an art. It is both at the same time – art and craft – which is what probably confuses many. To write well you must write many times, over and over. Practice does make perfect. And read!
Read as much as you can. Your business is to entertain and inspire readers, so be entertained and inspired. Read those writers who show you another way to write, to see, to explain and describe. Read those writers whose stories make you forget the world outside.
Read and write.
That way you’ll find your own voice, your own style. It’s how you’ll be able to produce genuinely creative writing.
Your business is to entertain and inspire readers.
Ignore the Romance
There is a great romance in writing, fuelled by stories of flamboyant writers arguing in cafés, living in small studios that overlook the rooftops of a famous city. A lot of coffee is involved in these stories, and long nights spent arguing about the big stuff: life, love, politics, why you shouldn’t wear black tights in spring. That sort of thing.
And then, of course, there’s the typewriter. Usually the writer’s tabletop is propped with a bottle of booze, cigarettes and an Underwood. Then there’s that moment where the visionary writer rips out the page after typing up a brilliant sentence, paragraph, maybe even a whole chapter. There are books and movies that build on this moment of sublime inspiration. That Yes! Got it! that is every writer’s Holy Grail.
Ignore it. All of it.
Don’t forget that those who write stories are most susceptible to the magic of stories. The ‘typewriting visionary writer’ is a story. The ‘passionate arguments in picturesque cafés’, the ‘sunlit studio at the end of a long flight of stairs’ – all of them are stories. They are tales about writing that leave out the strenuous hours when great writers felt hopelessly uninspired. When what they wrote for ten weeks straight was utter nonsense. When getting the book right meant rewriting the whole manuscript three times.
Those who write stories are most susceptible to the magic of stories.
Writing is both art and craft, and that means a lot – a lot – of practice. The romance of writing, though, is like Midnight In Paris: a nice story that is quite fantastic and nothing close to real life.
Real Life Writing
Real life writing involves real life, trite as that sounds. That means figuring out pay cheques, paying bills, paying attention to your partner, possibly even kids (if you have any). Real life writing means repeatedly carving out a time and a space to actually write, even when you really don’t feel inspired, since the fewest writers can write full time.
And as for full time writing, it requires the same discipline as a 9-to-5: getting up in the morning and actually writing it all down, even if what you end up with is less than great. Work on it tomorrow and the day after, and the one after that, until your editor comes along and says you need to change that scene in chapter three, it makes no sense at all.
Real life writing means repeatedly carving out a time and a space to actually write
The point is to not give up.
Keep on writing.
And one day it’ll happen, that Yes! Got it! that is not a myth, actually, it just takes serious work to get there.
Writing is an art and and a craft, both at the same time.
Take it seriously, it is your writing.
Maya @ Von Reuth