Friday, April 09, 2010

Ideas on writing #1

1) Write as often as you can. this might not be every day for some but every week for others, but write enough so that you feel proud and not guilty. Once you reply to someone's frankly rather rude question 'What do you do?' and at least one of your replies is 'I love writing, I write, I'm writing something', etc then you've just nailed the lid onto your coffin of free time. And opened a tiny - untraceable - bottle of guilt that will waft its scent about your house car, person for the rest of your days. Unless you write enough to feel satisfied, then the stink will dissipate - a little. Write as much as you can each time you have free time. Your family may break apart, you never have the sex anymore, your animals are fed only every second day, your garden looks like a dump, you lose weight, gain weight, get pimples and wrinkles at the same time, your house looks like the caravan salvaged from that self-same dump and balanced on an old fridge that houses rats, and your clothes are so rank people take a step back when you open the door, but you are, now, a writer.

2) If you weren't enough for yourself, others, your heart, your church, your soul, your friends, or your lover before you got published, you won't be enough for any of them after you get published. it's nice it's fun, it's a soft little secret you can carry around with you for the rest of your life like being able to carry your teddy or blanky or invisible friend around with you in your purse and not be chided or kicked to the ground and beaten, but you do pay David Beckham's ransom for it in a plethora of unexpected and freakish ways.

3) By writing enough to feel slightly more satisfaction than guilt, you will hopefully have several dozen manuscripts and be about to find the Holy Grail of writers - Your Voice. Treasure it. It's what editors and agents are looking for. but Your Voice does not have to be something that is so determinedly distinctive anyone could pick you out of a lineup with the greatest of writers just by seeing you write one word. One sentence - maybe. You might write in such a lean spare style, or you might like the odd adjective (but you shouldn't, they're like Two-Dollar Shop chocolate easter eggs) or you might have a smear of uncontrollable whimsy, but if it's what comes after having written so much, let it be, keep writing, it's yours, gaze at it like your bright red screaming wrinkly baby covered in your own blood and smile like a simpleton, you've done it. It might not be quite what you hoped for, but you did it. Be grateful for small mercies - and remember, no one else but another writer will understand and they'll probably smile sarcastically at your anyway or ring and laugh about you to your other best friend. Try to ignore it.

4) Reward yourself on accomplishing goals. Whether you wrote one sentence, or one chapter or half the book, if you had trouble sliding yourself along the cold concrete floor of your home/24 hour car-repair shop to your desk and shake at every touch of the keyboard, and can't lift your eyes to look at what you've written (which is no doubt in All Caps or separated into two thousand sections of the 'To' line of your email program) and your neck is cramped between the clutching muscles of your pinched shoulder blades and your eyes burn with tears and your one weirdly long pinkie finger nail keeps hitting the delete button and you're sweating so much the keyboard is starting o send up smoke signals to the local tech shop, then you must give yourself some reward for writing instead of killing yourself or eating your body weight in easter eggs. Be it big or small, live yourself a tiny smile, be your own best friend, as they say. Today you may eat fresh food, or unspoiled milk, or wear clean underwear. you are a clever clogs, the bees knees. Treat yourself like it.

Listening to: The Sea Thieves
Eating: Muesli from Spoon in Port Fairy
Thinking About: How nice Rain is
Watching: The Rain and Spicks and Specks from last night
Reading: The Road by Cormack McCarthy
Wearing: White Chiffon Dressing Gown which i now notice is a teensy bit see-through and I just chatted with the neighbours while letting out my two remaining chickens (one died over the weekend) and I was trying to chat while weeping and pulling my hair because she was an excellent chicken (and apparently, the only layer). Can't wait to have the neighbours over for drinks soon. Want to adopt more ex-battery hens to give them some decent life but am now aware of how they are less farm animals for produce and more familiars/dearly loved pets. Damn it all to hell.
Writing: Essay on panic attacks. chapter for The Tequila Bikini. Very long shopping list.

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Anonymous Ruby Wildflower said...

Great tips Kirsty - thanks so much! Have taken them onboard.

3:56 pm, July 13, 2010  
Blogger ~yassmin~ said...

I had read your books... Love it! I already had Millionaire Float, Happiness Punch and Vodka Dialogue.. Unfortunately, I can't find any Lady Luck in Malaysia. I'm looking forward to read it. It really feels unsettling not to have another series of Cassidy Blair's book.

8:57 am, August 19, 2010  

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