- Apply your butt to the seat of a chair, preferably in front of a computer. If no computer is available or feasible, always keep pen and paper handy. Or a typewriter maybe. You never know when an idea might strike. Be ready. Write it down before you forget.
- Is the immediate creative environment private and quiet? If not, make it so. Get rid of family members and/or spouses by one ruse or another. Or just tell them to be quiet. "Hey! Shut the freak up! I'm workin' heah!"
- Open yourself up to those nutty thoughts that zing and float between your ears. Consider them. Some ideas should probably be immediately suppressed, or stomped upon and killed. Some ideas should be utilized, and will take off like a wildfire. The trick is to know the difference. This takes intuition, practice, feedback, and luck.
- Crafting little old ideas into big old sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and books is not always easy. Learning structure cannot hurt. There are many books and classes available. Some writers prefer writing in flow, or stream of consciousness writing. This approach can be dangerous for some.... people tend to go off on tangents . . . lose focus . . . babble . . . regress to childhood . . . um . . . what were we talking about?! Seriously, there are many excellent books available, on the craft of writing, and this approach may be just what you need to make the connections in your head. Or not.
- Okay, the words have oozed and dripped out of your head, and are now on paper. You may now experience the cyber induced state of the Compulsive Need To Post. Take a deep breath and count to one hundred. Are these words really ready to be shared with the world? Sure, the Instapost feels good now, but in the morning you may feel differently. And since there is no 'Take It All Back Now' clickable icon, what's done is done. Unless, of course, your work is TOSed. My friends and I share this philosophy: Let the words/art age. Put them/it aside for awhile. Come back to them/it. Have they/it improved, or do they/it stinketh? The aging process may reveal such.
- The words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters are now posted online. What kind of response are you getting, and how do you feel about that?! Or, have you received no response? Don't take it personally. One's quality writing can be seemingly ignored. Can most people relate to the piece, or not? Does the tone or subject matter of the piece make people . . . um . . . nervous? It's all very subjective. And do keep in mind that drivel can sometimes attract many responses. Write and post some occasionally. It's downright theraputic!
- The responses are coming in. You are getting a buzz, and making new friends. But beware the Post Posting Blues. It is inevitable for some writers to experience this syndrome, when the euthusiastic responses cease. The sad truth is that the writing jollies cannot last forever, we must work for that next fix. Nothing good lasts forever. Get a grip. Focus on the work.
- You have decided to submit work to 'real' publishers, so that your words can be in a real book that will be on a real shelf someplace. Obviously, one must now research the markets, not a difficult task in this age of information overload.
Know the market, but don't let it intimidate you. Don't dwell on the negatives, and be willing to accept uncertainty. One theory on the road to publication goes something like this: To be published/popular/doing the talk show curcuit, a writer must be at least one of the following:
To possess all three must be killer!
- Very good.
Quotes that have stuck in my mind:
- "Do not compete, and you may find yourself in a class by yourself."
- "Procrastination is the thief of time."
- "Just DO it!"
- "Almond Joy has nuts . . . Mounds don't!"
Now go write something!