Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Note from the Bunker

Dear Writer
Never lose the fire in your belly. Dampen it down a wee bit for a while, if you need to, so you can get some sleep. But never lose it.

Write every book as if it were your first. Ignore whether or not you have an agent, a publisher or an established readership. Write as if you trying to make people sit up and take notice for the first time.

Forget your past books, the published ones, the unpublished ones. You, right now, in this moment are only as good as the book are you are currently writing.

Enjoy it. Please. If you are not enjoying it, the reader won't either. If you are not enjoying it, then really, what's the point? Writing should always be about the passion for creating a whole new world (yes... I'm singing the song from Aladdin now) and not just about getting words on a page.

Of course you do have to get the words on a page. So just do it. Don't procrastinate. Don't allow the negative voice on your shoulder to drown out the lovely voices of your characters.

FORGET SALES. They do not matter. Do you want a book which sells millions or do you want a book which you can put your hand on your heart and say you LOVE and are proud of? Yes... I know what your gut reaction is but think about that. Really. (Of course, never shun a blissful combination of the two, or believe it will never happen to you).

Don't diss your genre. Even to your self, on a bad day when you have written a line about a heroine drinking of a glass of wine and admiring shoes. The shoes and the wine are not what your books are about. Look deeper. You are not writing "only chick lit". You are touching lives.

If you have them, read the letters/ emails you have readers/ agents/ publishers/ your mammy which say nice things about your work. Especially remember that conversation you had with the woman in WeightWatchers who told you that your books got her through a particularly bleak period in her life (that one may be solely directed at me).

Limit your use of the bad F word. Feck is, of course, entirely acceptable. But don't go overboard with that either. Unless you are writing an episode of Father Ted.

Give yourself the time to write. Accept that books can not be written in five minute snippets while trying to entertain the children/ do the washing/ clean the house. Lock yourself away for a bit each evening - even half an hour - and write without distraction. Your writing is GOOD. It deserves your attention. YOU deserve the time to explore your own talent.

DON'T let outside forces drag you down. Don't think about the bigger picture. The bigger picture, like your addiction to chocolate, is beyond your control. Feck it. Focus on the picture in front of you - the one you are drawing right now.

Believe in yourself. Allow yourself to feel your words. Cry when your characters cry. Laugh when they laugh. Bonk when they bonk. (Then accept that bonk is a very silly word and vow never to use it again).

Accept that writing is a gift - a talent, an escape. Allow it be just that. Don't let it bog you down. There is enough in this world to bog you down as it is.

Smile. Read those emails again. Switch your laptop off when your toddler looks for a cuddle. Remember that creating lives for other people is great fun altogether but living your own life is more important.

Be proud of all you do - on the page and off.

1 comment:

Christine Murray said...

Thanks, that was just the pep me up I needed.

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