I feel really uncomfortable when new or emerging writers ask for my advice on writing. This is mostly because I feel like I am still a new and emerging writer, and also because … I really don’t have any good advice for them. My career experience up until now has very much been one of intense “pantsing” and “winging”.
i.e. Flying by the seat of my pants, winging it.
Sometimes, this has led to me falling on my bum.
Sometimes, it’s allowed me to take flight.
And it’s probably not the best way to approach this writing business, but it’s the only way I know. And so, when new writers ask for my advice, the only words – or, should I say, word – of wisdom I have for them is …
It’s no good having a “book in your head”. You don’t have books in your head. You have thoughts in your head. They only become books when you write them down. So, if you want to be a writer, then write. And – hey presto – you’re a writer!
If they ask me for more advice? I have one more word for them: “read”. Writers read. End of story.
But it’s the writing part that is the most important. No matter what you have on, how busy you are, if you want to be a writer, you’ll find the time.
I find it by getting up at 5am every day. Some days, that’s really hard, especially if I haven’t had the best night’s sleep. But I do it. Because I tell myself, if I’m not writing I’m no longer a writer. And being a writer is so much a huge part of who I am, if I stopped being it, I think I might just float away.
So I get up early. And I write until I have to stop (because Tiger is waking and Leigh needs to get to work).
I’m doing that today. And today it is especially difficult.
BECAUSE IT’S MINUS TWO DEGREES OUTSIDE.
I need to stop this post now and go and get another cup of tea. Not because I want tea. Just because I need something warm to hold so my fingers don’t drop off from frostbite.
And I need my fingers. Because I am a writer.
Now, off with you, the rest of you. Get your cups of tea. Get somewhere warm and, Heavens to Betsy, the lot of you, just WRITE!