what advice would I give them?
I say what advice would ‘I’ give ‘them’, because I am in need of them to give me some and not knowing any published authors to pour my ails – wails- out to I’m having to give it to myself.
I’m not talking how to write, I’m talking about how not to stop writing, mooch around your grey dull little life telling yourself, this is it, dream over, smacked by reality, just like e-e-vee-rry body else. … I do that periodically – three times a day roughly.
I’m gearing up to query, or just generally do something productive and hopefully lucrative with all those words, so what I would say if any writers were listening..
~ ANYONE can tell you how to write, very few can do it well enough themselves to make a living.
~ DON’T wait around for someone else to give you permission to be good. Someone gave Dan Brown permission. Several someone’s denied Joyce.
~ NEVER let the rhetoric in. Saw someone talking about writing the ‘great American novel’. Was their tongue in their cheek, probably, but that doesn’t mean the idea wasn’t nesting in their sub conscious, and killing them slowly. Don’t worry about what might be said about your book, just worry about what your book says. And remember the rhetoric of any review often says more about the reviewer than the reviewee. Every writer wants to impress you with every word they utter.
~ ENJOY the process. Someone will usually ask at some point what it feels like to finally finish a book. And the first, yes it was fantastic, but with each subsequent book, it’s diminished. What hasn’t is my joy and addiction to the Eureka moments. The little light bulb flashes, the ideas that pop like bubbles in cola as I build my world, work out the relationships, the people. I love to create stories, I love every word, every lingering alliteration, sly nudge and long awaited punch/kiss….potahto, potayto… Sometimes I get bored of my plots (I know how they end!) I never tire of my characters. If you don’t love it, find something else.
~ BE your own fan. Boasting of any sort is usually frowned upon in polite society, at least if you are British, but you should never feel ashamed to be enthusiastic about what you love and you should love this. Why are you spending all those unpaid hours on it otherwise?
~ EVERYBODY has to learn. Everyone loves those stories, Beethoven wrote his first symphony in the crib, Einstein taught himself to do the times crossword at two, we of all people should know that truth and story are very different beasts. No one is born just knowing, we all have to learn. Greatness is measured by this, not by its absence. If you are really smart you’ll keep learning your entire life.
~ NOBODY’S perfect, what makes you so fucking special?
I’m trying to remind myself of these a lot at the moment. What works to pep you up?