Saturday, September 29, 2007

Writing meme

I've been tagged at Shenanigans for a writing meme about 5 of my strengths as a writer and 5 pieces of writing advice.

1. I'm able to motivate myself quite effectively, whether it's by imagining myself getting stuck in or, if all else fails, thinking about how guilty I'd feel if I didn't write that day.

2. I approach writing as a job rather than a hobby. This has also helped me remain focused and motivated because if I saw my novel as a side activity to work I would never get it done.

3. I enjoy writing more than any other job I've ever had. 'Nuff said.

4. I am never complacent. I write at least 1500 words a day and monitor my overall word count.

5. Being a bookworm since I can remember has really paid off. I seem to have an instinct for what is good, bad, cliched and original. That doesn't mean that I don't make mistakes when I'm having a bad day or I'm tired - but it does mean I am not afraid to change it later.

And here is my writing advice:

1. Find out what motivates you the best, then stick to it. There are many writers who can treat writing like a hobby, who don't have to motivate themselves by leaving work or by setting themselves high word count goals. But this has worked for me so far and I've only found it out by trial and error.

2. If you want to write, just sit down and do it. Even if it's only 300 words a day it will add up.

3. Try not to let the negative in. I don't mean constructive criticism, which is essential. I mean people who criticise you for no good reason at all, who tell you the statistics are piled against you or even just a fellow writer who doesn't hold much truck for your method. If something works for you, stick to it. And if everyone listened to statistics then we'd never get anywhere.

4. Develop thick skin. (I'm working on this one myself by the way.) Learning to take constructive criticism is vital to becoming a good writer. If you want your work to be published you cannot write for yourself, you must write for the potential audience. Receiving negative feedback can be hard but if you toughen up, your work can only benefit.

5. Focus on the rewards. When I first started my novel it seemed like a mountain to climb. But when I finished my first draft it felt like an amazing achievement. When you are thinking of becoming a writer it's just too easy to let your insecurity prevent you from putting words to paper. But it is all worth it in the end.

And now onto the tags - I'm not sure who has done this meme already or not, so if you would like to give it a try then go ahead!


Jen said...

Good advice :-) Have you ever read Stephen King's book about writing? It's fascinating - both the story about how he became a writer and the advice he passes on.

Best of luck with the next draft of the book.

Anna said...

Hey there - I haven't visited for a while. You still seem to be majorly writing focused. As always, I'm impressed.

Good advice - especially #2. Whenever I get stuck, I just start writing. Even if I tear it up later, at least it clears the writing cobwebs.

hellojed said...

Jen, I found King's book to be really inspiring - I actually got my high word count idea from him! Thanks for the best of luck!

Anna, welcomed back. I am still focused, but unfortunately all my attention is on training. But I'll be finished soon...

Anonymous said...

Good ones!

Emerging Writer said...

Thanks for the link. I went to a reading yesterday and was inspired by one of the industrious writers to commit to writing 1,000 words a day (that's new words!) so don't go back and edit at first draft stage.

hellojed said...

Beth, thanks!

Emerging writer, that's great that you were inspired. I also didn't edit when I was writing my first draft - it was always 1500 plus new words.

JJ said...

Really interesting advice, hellojed. It's amazing how much we learn about ourselves by doing something like attempt to write a novel.


Angie said...

Great advice, hellojed, and it really got me thinking about how to improve my methods.

hellojed said...

JJ, it's amazing what you find out when you take 100% responsibility for something - I'd never worked for myself before so it was a big learning experience.

Angie, I'd like to see you do this meme - both our writing styles seem different and I'd love the opportunity to learn a little bit from your experience.