TEN TINY TIPS FOR TINY TYPISTS

As part of my recent Residency, I was asked to provide a list of 10 writing tips, to be reproduced in the Centre’s newsletter.

What the hey: here they are, for you to argue over.

  1. Know what you want to achieve from each session: it’s easier to get words down if you know where you want your story to go.
  2. Set reasonable targets: don’t try to achieve something that puts you under pressure before you start. Better to set a moderate target and exceed it, than otherwise.
  3. Be disciplined: writing time can be minimal. When you have it, don’t get distracted by other things. When it’s time to write, write and only write.
  4. Be regular: you don’t have to write every day, but try to set aside time on a regular basis. 500 words, once a week is better than zero words every day.
  5. Embrace your weird: nobody thinks like you do. If your narrative starts to deviate, take a chance on your instincts and follow it. You might be tapping into that voice that is uniquely yours.
  6. Tell your story first: turn off your internal editor until the first draft is done. Only edit once you have the narrative written. Never start editing until the story is told.
  7. Forget the marketplace: don’t worry about where the story could be sold until it is complete. There will always be a market, but there’s never been one for unfinished stories.
  8. Ignore your surroundings: if you want to complete stories, train yourself to ignore everything around you while you are working. Whether it is the laundry, your spouse, or a cocktail by the beach, they can all wait until you’re finished your session.
  9. There is no perfect environment: the world is too busy, noisy, and fast-paced to wait until you have the perfect combination of circumstances in which to create. Learn to work while surrounded by noise; while on public transport; on a variety of recording media… whatever it takes to get words down wherever you are, whenever you’re there.
  10. Ignore your muse: the world does not care if you are a precious, fragile creative soul. The world cares only for your completed stories. Be a professional, working artist: fly if you can, grind them out if you have to, but accept that your words are the only currency that counts.

 

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