Photo Essay Friday – 3 Rules of Writing

Starting this week, I will strive to post a photo essay every week or every two weeks in my quest for organized blogging. Here’s hoping I stick with it for a long time and not let my short attention span have its way!

I was supposed to be working on my freelance articles yet I found myself dazedly browsing through GalleyCat when I found this article about The Only Three Pieces of Writing Advice You’ll Ever Need.  The article was written with regard to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. During the panel discussing “Creativity and Imagination.” Three acclaimed authors on the panel were asked the best advice they could give aspiring writer, and their responses, though they were vague took quite an effect on me and my writing. I’m sharing them here in the hopes that whoever stumbles upon this blog would take it to heart and create the magic you want to create.

On your marks, set, READ!

1. “Read  a lot, read a lot!” – Magic Hours author Tom Bissell

As you can see, from a section of my bookshelves, (no you may not borrow any of them!) I am no stranger to reading. It’s a pretty obvious piece of advice. If you didn’t like to read, then where would your love to write come from?

I used to be a fanatical reader and still am, the only difference being that these days I can’t afford to raid bookstores like before. (No quarter, matey!) I was never a fan of ebooks so don’t suggest that option to me.

School Days - That's me, making the "Peace" sign 🙂

But it was from my first, obsessive love of Enid Blyton’s homey tales filled with food and fun, particularly her school stories St. Clare’s and Malory Towers and the crazy escapades of those girls that inspired me to write my own fantasy school girl stories. I started during my IGCSE’s and naturally, used my own girlfriends and experiences as inspiration.

2. “Write a lot!” I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts author Mark Dery

So obvious, but so lacking. This is the most basic of all writing rules that I seem to be incapable of following!

It is true that sometimes, spurred on by the power of Florence Welch’s formidable voice, I write rapidly, almost feverishly for several hours on end until my fingers are sore and aching but still unable to refuse my brain’s creative onslaught.

But most of the time, I crouch on my bed, my legs tucked underneath me and stare at a blank page. If I do try to write in those colourless moments, I end up with a page of drivel that makes me question my sanity and ability to write.

“What?” I shriek at the roof, “What makes you think you could possibly write a novel?!”

However, you must and should write everyday. Be it a masterpiece that left your short-sighted great aunt in tears, or a page of carefully written poo-poo that leaves you in tears, WRITE EVERYDAY! Write anything! It can be a rant about how useless you are as a writer, or it can be a post on your blog about how sexy Robert Downey Jr is!

Just like any other craft, the art of writing must also be honed. If you feel that uninspired writing is not your thing, then try out this wicked 52 Writing Exercises To Hone Your Craft by Susan J Morris. Check out more of the hilarious and dead-right advice she offers on her weekly column for Amazon’s Omnivoracious, Writer’s Don’t Cry.

3. “Don’t Expect To Make Any Money!” – Is That A Fish In Your Ear? author David Bellos

This last gem of advice, is the best advice I have ever been given because it puts an end to the tormenting question I have been asking myself since I decided to take up writing as a career.

“Do I write what I love? Or do I write what the market wants to read?”

Because I don’t want to write about shiny vampires or buff, Native American werewolves! I want to write my own stories, never mind if they’ve been done before, never mind if they’re not about mermaids. So I guess if I placed this question with Mr. David Bellos the answer would be, yes, dammit! Write the story that you’ve always dreamed of writing…

This is how it looks outside my window today...

Let me know what you think :)

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