Been a while, blog, my old neglected friend. At least one of my friends has been putting me to shame with their blogging activity. Once a day is probably out of the question for me at the moment as I need to expend more energy on writing fiction to keep the momentum going. I’ve always blogged as and when the fancy took me, and I tend to do it in waves, but I would like to do it more. It has a way of sharpening my focus sometimes, and it’s also a good way to hash out ideas.
But this is not what I’m here to talk about. I swear there is more advice for writers out there than there is actual writing. I admit to reading some of it, and Twitter in particular has introduced me to the thick soup of bloggers and writers and random people giving advice, tips, helpful quotes etc. So much that it becomes a bit wearing. Most of it is just repeating the same stuff over and over again. Some of it is supremely entertaining and helpful, but I can see how the new writer – eager to learn and soaking up the professional advice on offer – could become utterly bogged down and not know which way to turn. Knowing which advice to heed and which not to is the hard part. Some say take what works best for you, which is probably good advice, but it’s too easy to become blind to what you really need, or to what your writing really needs. Heck, there is even advice out there about how you should choose what advice to heed. (I’m tempted to write some advice about which advice-heeding advice you should listen to).
For example, I thought for a long time I could get by without planning out stories too much, and then once they were written giving them a couple of drafts and a polish then sending them on their merry way. I realise now that that I can’t get away with that (well not every time, sometimes it works, but for the most part… no). Planning helps me immensely – even on short stories. Striking a balance between planning and winging it is tough. At some point you have to stop with the notes and just write it. The momentum that comes with the act of writing seems to open up ideas as you go.
Writer, Joe Lansdale has recently been passing on his wisdom about the craft on his facebook page. I liked what he said about routine, in terms of always trying to write at the same time, almost as a way of conditioning your mind and body to be in the mood for writing at that time every day. I know some people who write when they can, due to work and life pressures, and I’m kind of one of them, although I do appear to have developed my own routine without consciously attempting to. It generally involves a couple of hours of prevarication, eating, making cups of tea, watching another episode of How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory, and then just when it’s time that I should really be going to bed if I feasibly want to be awake and functional the next day, my brain decides it’s time to write. It’s a routine. An inappropriate routine, but a routine nonetheless. If I had my whole day to myself, I’d like to think a new routine would develop, but my brain has always been at it’s most creative in those hours when it should be switching off and going to sleep. Perhaps that experience of being on the edge of unconsciousness induces a waking dream state where I can access my subconscious as easily as dipping my fingers into an unending bowl of popcorn… or… maybe its just panic that I haven’t written anything yet and I really ought to.
I should go and find a blog giving me some advice on this matter…