Writing advice to a friend

This advice is taken in part, from a conversation with a friend on messenger. I thought it might shine some light on my writing process. The question was, how do you motivate yourself to write a full length novel?

Hiya, I had the intention to write every day, but didn’t always manage. I didn’t beat myself up about it though, what’s the point.

Posting on Facebook was a great way to hold myself accountable, if only to myself.

I have a friend, (a non booky friend), who read each chapter after I had finished, errors and all. Her response to the writing, (and I mean response, not feedback at this stage), assured me that what I had written made sense and worked. I have a Helen too, who gives me the more honest and good feedback.

I had a loose plot, but it was loose. I let my imagination guide the shape of the novel and, regularly altered the plot line as I went. I guess the main thing for me was to think of why I wanted to sit down and write and, what I would get out of it. When I found the answer, I began to sit down and write purely for the love of writing. I wanted to enjoy the process, and have fun. I never gave myself pressure, I didn’t beat myself up if it seemed disjointed or went in weird directions, I just kept writing.

I had a rough idea of word count, but not a solid ending so that was changeable, and I did make some major changes in the last chapter and I think it gave the whole story a twist.

But I guess I went at it with a want to write, a real desire to bring my idea to life, to slow down in order to really enjoy what I was writing, and the actual act if writing itself. And with no publishing goal in site at this stage, I found the act of writing, for writings sake, fun. I guess that the process would change when working to a publishing deadline.

Summary

A maliable plot.
Facebook accountability.
A strong desire to bring my story to life.
An intention to write.
Writing for the love of writing.
A desire to enjoy each part of the process.

Another thing. Finishing each chapter on a hook is great for the reader, but also for me as it made returning to the story exciting.


I always leave myself notes of ideas at the end of a chapter too. Scrivener is a great piece of software that lets you break the novel down into wee chunks. It’s not too expensive either.
Also, I take notes of loose ends so I always tie them up.

Don’t edit as you go, it’ll slow you down and you’ll get stuck. You’re going to have to edit anyway once it is written. Try just writing and ignoring the mistakes. It is liberating. That’s when your real voice comes out and the magic happens. That’s when you’ll love it for what it is, a weird fucking delve into the unknown.

If you are still struggling, meditation is a good way to shake of expectations. Or a walk before you sit down.

Good luck.

Procrastination published by The Ogilvie

Today my poem Procrastination was published by The Ogilvie – (Click on the link to see it live).

fb_img_1465651212397.jpg

I wrote this poem on a day when I was supposed to be writing an academic essay. Clearly my mind wasn’t on the job.

Procrastination

Cardboard daylight
Prods me through vertical blinds.
I am slumped on an un-reclining recliner with
warm-breath-blowback burning my cheeks,

my toes, curl like a fist on the carpet, as cold as the kitchen tiles.
I cannot move.
There is a pork and Apple loaf
Baking in the oven
Two hours too soon
And a laptop on standby.

I am waiting
I have been waiting for years
For that phone-call, that chance
But it will not come
Not in this bitter cold dark
Afternoon. Not in this room.

I need to put the light on
But I won’t,
The dogs will think they
Can go out to play and I can’t bare the dampness, the half night day,
That is turning all the Orange brick brown.

I am writing, or at least I am typing, anything except
What I ought to write. But I will wait a wee bit longer. Until I am
Kicked up the arse by the artificial light of night, when the start of time begins to run out.
It is going to be a late one.
Writing by light-bulb and shaded by the un-dusted cobwebs.

©Eilidh G Clark