Following on from yesterday’s post, here’s how to get started if you DO want to write.
Start here and now. Read my article below, published in Writing Queensland and as I said, JUST DO IT! Doesn’t take much time and is cheaper than therapy!
How to Begin Writing – The Top 10 Must-Do Strategies for Boomer Writers
by Vikki Belling
I have been writing now for exactly six weeks. Well, about five and half … OK – honestly? Just one.
My ambition to write was born not out of a lifelong desire to be published, or even to reach the masses, but due to boredom. Quitting work without landing another job first is not a recommended activity. And to top it off, Centrelink, surprisingly, are not as sympathetic an agency as I thought they would be.
Now don’t get me wrong, I want to write. I have written before and been published before. Several times.Many years ago. But taking that first step to become a ‘professional writer’ is scary at best. At worst, it’s tedious, lonely and unfulfilling. In this world of too many ideas, not enough publishers and the never-ending, feedbackless determination to create, it is easy to become disheartened.
So, to the faceless siblinghood of new writers out there, I dedicate this to you.
My Top Ten Must-Dos for Boomer Writers has sprung from my VAST experience as an aficionado of the daily tapping of my notebook PC keys. Well, for the past week, anyway. I trust that it will inspire you to Icarus-like heights!
- Jump out of bed enthusiastically at Sam to support your partner as he/she/it ventures out to obtain that vital ingredient for your writing career – a steady income. Proceed to return under the covers as soon as he/she/it leaves for those much needed 4-5 hours of extra slumber.
Now you’re ready to begin your day as a Writer. (Don’t have a partner? Skip Step 1 – see, you’re already ahead of the pack.)
- Consume at least two Cadbury Boosts immediately after breakfast.
The sugar will set the creative juices flowing (or at least wake you up
enough to see the computer keyboard).
- Conduct endless hours of research about the topics that you wish
to commit to paper (in other words: surf the Net, read, hang out at
magazine racks at bookstores and coffee shops). Be sure not to tell your partner/your mother/the cat that this is how you’re spending your days. He/she/it won’t understand the creative process like you do.
- Occasionally write something. A letter, a shopping list, a suicide
note, a post in a blog (please note – the last two may be considered
one and the same for writing purposes). Mix the words, phrases and
sentences up, print off and display these in a prominent place for when your partner returns (or your mother comes over to do your laundry or the cat wakes up). These ‘works of fiction’ will act as evidence that you are developing something really monumental and have the potential to earn unlimited income from your craft.
- Ensure that you break for a decent lunch. All of this work is exhausting and you must guard against writer’s stupor. I find that a lovely glass of carrot, apple and ginger juice followed by a vegetarian muffin and spinach salad is the ideal repast to stimulate those reticent brain cells.
Another Cadbury Boost may also be a good idea.
- Keep your eyes and ears honed for the arrival of the postie. This
important activity assists with the development of the senses, a Writer’s basic tools. Abuse the postman profusely if he has not brought you anything from your publisher/editor/mother/the new freebie website/Petalia.
- Learn to love any form of mail, particularly rejection letters. They are proof that you are a Writer (for the tax man at least). Utilise junk mail and flyers to inspire new ideas, scribble notes on … or for toilet paper should funds be a little low.
- Honestly there’s nothing like Oprah to stimulate those creative juices. Who wouldn’t love a woman who is SO successful that she can retire one day and have two new shows start the next day.Make her your role model and firmly fix your eyes on the prize! Didn’t watch Oprah today? Never mind – if you have managed to miss it, congratulate yourself on an unusually creative and productive day. Well done!
- Always sit at your desk, with your PC/Tablet switched on when your partner/mother is due to arrive or your cat wakes up. Frown a lot, stare into space for a while and then type like a demon for the next hour. Enables your partner/mother/cat to actually witness you at work and probably gets you out of making dinner, so that you may take advantage of your creative flow. Often this is when I do my best work.
- If the previous tip doesn’t work, stage a fake phone call from your Editor. Arrange for a friend to phone you just when the decision about ‘what’s for dinner’ can be put off no longer. Nod a lot, argue just a little and hang up with a sigh. Explain that your Editor wants you to stretch/chop/totally discard your last article as it doesn’t fit their guidelines.
Squeeze out one tear and bemoan the fact that they haven’t accepted
the masterpiece that you’ve been honing for a week. Dinner will be on
the table before you can say ‘royalty cheque’. And most, importantly…
- Never read articles by other writers giving you tips on how to live the writing life. How could they know what you’re going through!