I Should Take My Own Writing Advice

I’ve been writing for longer than you think.  I’ve been writing for longer than I think sometimes.  I used to write fiction, had five novels on the go.  Used to write short stories longhand.  On my bedroom floor.  When I was 25.  I used to draft things, even when people said to leave that shit in.  I used to type my writing at 3 in the morning, while blasting music I found on Napster.  That’s how far back we  go.  Even farther than that.

I used to run writers groups for young writers that I am now OFFICIALLY too old far.

I got some stuff workshopped at Uni, had stuff in school papers.  They spelled my name wrong.  Twice.  It ain’t that hard.

Then I left.  To write.  To travel.  To get over myself.  And others.

I also left the novels unfinished.  The poems well-hidden.

I took jobs where I edited other people’s writing.  My red pen was purple.  I wrote 5O word artist bios, research reports.  Stuff with charts.  And numbers. Company newsletters, life-coaching worksheets.

And then, Neil says one night, ‘I’ve never read anything that’s yours.’

I started this blog to write stuff that was mine, that might be enjoyed by people who aren’t Neil.  Or my parents.

I tried a thousand words of fiction.  Again.  They got burned.

We moved here and I thought about hiding and writing and actually finishing something.

I spend A LOT of time telling others they should be writing.  And it’s true.   You should be. But so should I.

But before I start again, I’ve thought about HOW.

And this is what I got.

Write like nobody’s reading. Yet.

Write for you.  But write with someone in mind.  Write to them.  Tell them everything.

Write dialog like real talk.  Because that’s what it is.

Aim for 500 a day.  Less is OK.  More is gravy.

Work on your schedule.  I can’t write at 3am anymore.  After I’ve had coffee, I am a morning writer.  Those people used to scare me.  But I get it now.  Thank you.

Don’t talk.  Write.  Write now.

Screen your calls.  Ignore everyone but your children.  If your children are being annoying, work it in somewhere.

Write more than you talk, but read more than you write.

Do you.  If you write better with music on, blast it.  If you don’t, don’t.  Loud depressing music with intricate lyrics used to work for me.  Not so much anymore.  Now I prefer instrumental stuff.  Like the dishwasher.

Put your heart on the page.  Or the screen.  Or that envelope on your kitchen table.

And if it sounds like writing, re-write it.

What works for you?

Tell me everything.

















37 thoughts on “I Should Take My Own Writing Advice

  1. I used to just write when inspiration struck, but I just can’t do that anymore because sometimes inspiration strikes when I have dinner on the stove or when I’m exhausted and my brain won’t fully function. I jot every idea down, there are post its all over this house. Now I’m trying to write in a more planned manner. It’s difficult, though, because sometimes it feels stilted. I’m not used to it, but you’re right, just write. In the end, that’s the best advice.

  2. I read a quote this morning, it said:

    Write three pages every morning when you wake up. It doesn’t matter if its blabber or if it doesn’t come out right. Just keep writing as this helps you de clutter your morning thoughts! This is what I am going to do from today because I too want to be a scary morning writer!!


  3. I need to take my own advice too! My husband (is also my VA) keeps getting mad because I tell him to do things and forget to do them myself… oups. It makes me think of “do as I say and not as I do”. I’m going to write myself a wee note so I remember to take my own advice!

  4. This is the best of Stephen King and Ann Lamott’s “on Writing” advice wrapped up in a deliciously digestible bite. I can see the truth and conviction behind your words. I know it’s great advice. I do.

    I wish I could share my own pearls of wisdom with you. I still struggle to publish a semi-coherent blog post semi-regularly. But I do love that sense of satisfaction that comes from re-reading a recently finished post (right before publishing) and surprising myself… “You know, that’s not too bad.”

    Love that.

    1. Thanks, Gabe. Funny, I’ve read On Writing, but never Bird by Bird. I also love the not too bad moments, haha. Even read stuff aloud to see how it sounds.

  5. This is such a great post!

    You sound so experienced. Would love to know what sort of novels you were writing. I am writing novels and I find dealing with people’s views on what I should leave out / leave a struggle. Everyone has different views. I also get emotionally attached to my characters which means I have to step back a lot.

    1. Thanks, Lucy. I’ve done a lot, but there is much more to do. If I was that experienced, I wouldn’t be writing about not writing. I have everything but the fecking discipline. Working on it. I really respect what you’re doing, keep going! Always here to talk. xox

  6. This is sound advice & I should adhere to it. Weirdly, for someone who is a huge music fan (I have to have music accompanying literally everything I do), I have to have complete silence when I’m writing. I just get distracted otherwise. I’ll get writing then, Miss 👍🏻

  7. For me goals seem to work, that’s how I finished book 1 draft 1. I’ve given myself to the end of July to have it in good shape for a manuscript critique!
    Just keep writing! 💖

  8. This is a great line: “Write more than you talk, but read more than you write.” Elmore Leonard wrote a great book about great writing. His best piece of advice? “Try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Go, Elmore! And here’s mine: “Write like you are talking to a person. One person.”

  9. Hi Lorna, I popped across from the #FollowItFriday facebook hash tag and now I’m following you. Dont you think sometimes we stand to close, as if to an abstract painting? Bear with me a bit, so close that we see the colours and smell the turpintine … but we can’t quite capture the art, the very thilng.
    I look forward to reading to hearing your voice betwixt the lines, the one’s you have been standing to close to.

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