Ten tips from this writer’s life
I was speaking to a lady about The Zanzibar Moon and she thought it was the only thing I’d written. I explained that I’d been published, in collaborative books, magazines, newspapers, journals and websites. See my Clips. I have had a long freelance career as a writer and am always writing something.
She said, “I respect anyone who can write a whole book, but what compels you want to do it?”
To me the answer is easy. “My love of writing makes me write. It’s a compulsion I’ve had since primary school. I am happiest when working at my craft.”
“But how do you organise it and go about it? To someone who doesn’t write it seems like a daunting thing to take on.”
Here are my ten tips from my writing life for those who are considering embarking on a writing life.
Ten tips to become a writer
- Write something every day (even if it’s just a list of the articles, short stories or novels you want to write)
- Set aside writing time (mine is before work, at lunchtime, after work and weekends) Yes, I have a full-time job and did publish a book. You can too.
- Plan your time. If you need to complete a 20,000 word writing project in three months. That’s 6,666 words per month or 1,666 per week, or 238 words per day seven days a week.
- Tell family and friends when you are writing, so there will be no distractions. (I’m one of the lucky few who can work with distractions, but most writers like peace and quiet).
- Read writing references. I’m continually learning about being a better writer. You do not know it all. There is always something to learn, be it about structure, editing, plotting, character development, dialogue, research or publishing.
- Love your characters. If your enamoured by your characters you’ll keep wanting to visit them. I loved mine so much in The Zanzibar Moon that I’ve brought them back in a prequel and plan two sequels.
- Create a writer website. Make it real. Let everyone know you are a writer. Yes, you are. Don’t doubt it.
- Set aside a writing zone. Writers dream of the perfect study with a fancy desk, shelves full of books, the latest computer, inspirational paintings, writing awards and a reading nook. We can’t all have that. You may have to write at the dining table, coffee table, bedroom corner, local café, your library or somewhere else. Anywhere, as long as you know it’s your writing zone and you’re about to get to work at writing.
- Keep a notebook with you always. You never know where you’ll find your inspiration. I get mine late at night, walking along the beach, hanging the washing, running the dog and washing the dishes. I’m always thinking up stories, characters and ideas in my head. “What if?”
- Never lose your imagination. “Imagine if?”
Good luck and get writing. If you need any advice please comment below. I’m always happy to support other writers.
Positivism can reverse negativity
Change is all around us. One instant in time, the blink of an eye and you can end up in a negative or positive situation. No two people see it the same. Some are glass half full and some half empty.
If something bad happens and you’re sad, angry, grief-stricken, annoyed, frustrated, hurt or a multitude of emotions. It’s a negative experience but what if you turned it positive?
There’s the saying you can’t get any further down so you must go up.
It’s not always easy to find a positive thing but it’s best for your emotional wellbeing if you at least try. My mum always says, “There’s always someone worse off.” It’s an apt saying. You have nothing to complain about when you compare yourself to the heartache others face.
Look at inspirational people like Turia Pitt. She looks to the positive to get through something most of us could barely imagine. She has her wonderful bubbles of happiness and humour, and she’s thriving. Yes, she has more guts and determination than most of us would be able to summon, but if she wasn’t positive she’d never get through it (oh and congrats to her and Michael on expecting their first child).
How do you find a positive in a negative?
Let’s give a simple example. You’re a guy and you lost your wallet (no I’m not talking about you Blake). It’s annoying and it makes you angry. You must cancel all your cards and then wait for new ones. You worry about identity theft and you freak out a little about people sifting through your treasured family photos.
Where’s the positive? You can start laughing because if anyone tries to use the credit card they’ll be denied as you just maxed it out (karma). What if you hated the wallet and your coins always fell out of it? You now have an excuse to go buy a new one. Let’s go one step further. That cute girl you’ve been passing on the street, finds your wallet, hands it back and your hands brush at the touch. Electricity and sparks fly. You lock eyes and a happy ever after love affair begins (okay I admit the romance writer in me got carried away with that scenario, but you get the point).
Think up your own positives to negatives
Negative: Stub your toe (ouch!)
Positive: Swear (that always makes you feel better) look what you kicked your toe on. That old diamond ring you had lost.
Negative: Get sick with the flu.
Positive: You’re not the only one and now’s your chance to recover in bed and be pampered by the family.
Negative: Prang your car.
Positive: No one is hurt and it’s just a car.
Negative: It’s raining and you wanted sunshine.
Positive: It’s been dry and the plants need it (and may prevent bush fires this season). They are doing a happy rain dance. I’d probably curl up with a good book.
Negative: The dog ate your homework.
Positive: Well haven’t we all wanted to use that excuse?
Negative: Your flight was cancelled.
Positive: They found a fault in the plane and you’re are very lucky it never took off (because it could have crashed).
It’s not always easy. Somethings are just too sad (like death and grief). Just try these strategies to get through it and find the more positive aspects of your life.
My own negative thought today is I haven’t had time to blog and keep up with my 365 Days of Gratitude. The positive thought out of that is; the amount of writing work I am embarking on now, is the reason I’ve had no time to blog. Yay me!
365 Days of Gratitude
I’ve missed from Day 191 to today, which is Day 248. I have plenty of gratitude during those 57 days. I have bucket loads of gratitude. Some crappy things have happened (two broken-down cars, an almost fried laptop (yep this very one), but there’s been so many more wonderful moments they outweigh the negative).
- Visits with the grandkids
- A free holiday in Noosa
- Enjoying a writing festival and networking with other creatives (Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival)
- Meeting writing goals
- A friend recovering from a scary illness
- A visit from my son (he lives the furthest away from us)
- Coming second in a footy tipping comp (thanks Roosters)
- Reading some wonderful books
- My big dog’s lapdog moments
- Warmer weather
- More The Zanzibar Moon sales
- Getting three-quarters of the way through my next manuscript