This week on my blog I’ll be sharing with you almost everything I know about writing. I’m holding out on a couple of things because I like to pretend to be mysterious and it’s fun having a secret. But I’m not actually very good at keeping secrets and I’m much too clumsy to be mysterious (because mystery, in my mind, involves long flowing cloaks and shadows and silence, not untied shoelaces and elbows whacking doorframes and shrieks of pain) so I’m sure I’ll cough up the last few useful tidbits soon. For now, though, I’m offering you ten writing tips over the course of five days which, in my opinion, is a pretty good deal.
You may be asking yourself, What makes her an expert? It’s okay, go ahead and ask it out loud. It’s a good question. The answer is nothing. Nothing makes me an expert. I’m not an expert; I’m just a writer. But I’ve been doing this writing thing for two years now, and in that time I’ve had a little success and I’ve learned a whole heck of a lot. And one of the things I’ve learned is that I have to learn things over and over again.
It’s not that I’m a poor student. In fact, I’ve always been a very good student. But real learning takes time and retention takes repetition. If I’d truly absorbed everything I’ve learned over the past two years about the writing life, I’d probably be fiendishly typing 20,000 words a day and cranking out a bestseller a month by now* but I’m not, so the learning continues.
Another thing I’ve learned (you’re getting a couple of pre-tips here) is that a writer who’s stuck can be very skilled at forgetting the very things that would get her unstuck. It’s amazing how stubborn my brain can be. It will deliberately choose to ignore the simple, effective tools it has stored away in its grotesque** little folds when it’s determined to be stuck. I often have to be reminded to do things that I’ve been doing for years, things that I taught others to do for years, like…free writes. And timed writing. And quick character sketches. Every time someone recommends one of these things to me, I say, Oh yeah. Duh! Then I push my brain out of the way and get back to work.
My point is that none of the tips you’re going to see this week are earth-shattering ideas or light-bulb-over-the-head epiphanies. They’re just things that I’ve learned that I want to share. You’ve probably heard them before, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded once in a while. Just distract your brain with a logic puzzle or one of those images of a snake eating itself so that you can read at your leisure.
Oh, and since I’m really not an expert***, I’ll throw in a few links to some people who actually know what they’re talking about as a bonus.
* I’m kidding. That is not actually what success looks like and it doesn’t sound healthy at all.
** Your brain may not be grotesque, but I’m pretty sure mine is.
*** Really, truly, not an expert.
Coming Up This Week: 10 Writing Tips in 5 Days
Day 1 – Start Small, But Dream Big
Day 2 – Join the Club
Day 3 – Get Yourselves Organized!
Day 4 – The Reluctant Reviser
Day 5 – No More Excuses