I came across someone I knew many years ago, a musician who was trying to write. I found his novels self-conscious and over-wordy. I didn’t think he’d get published. BUT. In every year since I saw him last, he has written at least 50,000 words, he told me. He has entered a few competitions and kept attending his writing group. He has scrapped those early novels and written another. I took a look, then I read it – from interest, I didn’t have to. It is lean, with a clear theme and characters with enough personality for the reader to give a damn what happens to them. It is now with an agent. Watch this space!
Meanwhile, what can you do to succeed as a writer?
1. Don’t accept that there is a condition called Writer’s Block. There are attempts that don’t go anywhere, there is bad writing, but the only situation that can’t be rectified is no writing.
2. Therefore, write every day, even if it’s only to make a witty retort on Twitter. If you can’t write even a scene for your story, correct the recipe of the dish you’ve just eaten and to explain the reasons why it failed to pass muster today. Write a note to that person who so annoyed you in as powerful terms as you can. Just don’t send it. Tear it up before binning it, just to make sure. Or, even better, just tear off the name at the top and keep it to use in a story. Remember, write every day. You eat, you sleep, you work, you write.
3. If you have a character in mind (and this is a character-led website) start a mini booklet where you jot down ideas for his/her personality. What have you just done this minute? How would your character do it? What does s/he like to eat? What gets on his/her wick? What friends did s/he make at school/college/Uni/work?
3. Think of someone whom you feel sure would enjoy what you’re about to write. What is their age, group, situation?
4. If you don’t belong to a writing group, then for goodness sake, join one. If you live so far from civilization that this is impossible, or if health issues prevent, join an on-line writers’ site – see Four Writers’ Sites on an earlier post here. (Scroll down). You can talk about your ideas with the group instead of submitting a piece. Members like to be helpful and just one idea might furnish the lead you were seeking.
5. Put a photo or picture by your word processor or writing pad, an image from a book or newspaper that has arrested or intrigued you. Write its story either for real, or from imagination showing why it’s caught your attention.
As for me, my book of ironic short stories,