We’ve finished the four Don’ts – time now to have a look at the corresponding Do’s. First up:
Real writers do the trade every day.
Any number of author voices more resonant than mine have extolled the virtues of turning up. Stephen King advocated “bum glue”. Jane Yolen referred to “exercising the writing muscle”. Lawrence Kasdan suggested “being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life”. No doubt engaging with your story on a daily basis is a must. But what’s the deal for emerging authors: the folks who are chasing creativity behind jobs and kids and mortgages and slush piles and rejection slips, whose days are invariably full while their pages are often empty?
Here’s the good news – turning up to your story does not always mean churning out a word count.
If you are re-thinking a character’s motivation while having a shower – you are writing. If you are figuring out back-story (pardon the pun) while sitting on the can – you are writing. If you are devising a devastating plot twist while driving through town…STOP! Park the car rather than pranging it into a phone pole, continue with the work…and know you are writing. Stories ultimately get made into entire manuscripts, but the work that goes into the story may take many left-field shapes and forms. Embrace them all. Use each to its fullest potential.
Tapping your head is every bit as valuable as tapping the computer keys.