Blog Archive

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

How to Write

When I was young, I bought a coach ticket for the first time. I simply went to the coach station ticket office and paid for it and brought this very important piece of card home.

Now, as the day approached for my coach journey, I wondered how it was that I would be told to get on the coach. I checked the post everyday to see whether an invitation had arrived telling me that my presence was requested to attend the launch. Or maybe a phone call would inform me that my seat was confirmed. I was expecting at least a gold-edged envelope. Because this was a journey from out of the city, it seemed to be more important.

But no, to my amazement, it was nothing like that at all. You make your way to the coach station on the day and at the time that the coach is supposed to leave, show the driver your ticket and go and find a seat - any seat you like. The coach goes whether you are on it or not.

This childish scene reoccurs to me now because if someone wants to be a writer, they must just write! There is not going to be a gilt-edged invitation, or actually even a ticket. For a first time, unpublished author, there are no looming deadlines, only the vague intention of somehow ending up with a publication one day.

Barbara Cartland, was one of England's most prolific writers. She wrote for nearly eighty years and is thought to have sold over a billion books. She wrote over 700 books in total, writing 23 novels in one year alone - leading to an entry in the Guinness book of Records.

For her, writing was purely a matter of discipline. She used to sit down to dictate her books at 1.30pm she said, (not 1.35, and not 1.40), and she would write for two hours every single day. She said that there was no use waiting for the muse to arrive, you had to write, and it was mainly a matter of controlling yourself. When she died, she left 162 still unpublished books.

How to Write
  • Set aside a certain amount of time everyday 
  • Write
  • For the first draft, think of quantity, not quality, if that helps. Have a daily word count goal and stick to it everyday.
  • Write!
  • Take part in an online challenge. NaNoWriMo is an excellent one with wonderful support and regional groups set up all over the world.
  • Join a writers' group or a creative writing course 
  • Write

The best way to be a writer is to write. Don't worry how you will handle all the fame and publicity. The theme park design can wait, it really can. First work towards producing a complete document.

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