As the Creative Righter, writing is what I do. According to some people I know, it’s what I do best. Opinions aside, if I want to succeed with my writing, I need to work hard at it. Gone are the days of scribbling things in a first draft and heading out the door to pursue other fun pastimes. Nope. Nowadays I take the time to re-read, re-read and re-read again. Gone are the days of letting ideas come to me naturally at all times of the day or night. Nope. Nowadays I sit down and think and if nothing cool comes, so be it, I can always come back to that idea or focus on previous work and improve. There are hundreds of clever quips and quotes from famous authors about how to write. I’ll let you search Google, Instagram and Pintrest for those. From a personal perspective, here are 3 things I have learnt when I write.
- You can always edit your first draft. The fine art is knowing when to stop. I am currently working on a novel of sorts. The inspiration will strike and a new chapter is penned in one or two sittings. Then I read what I just wrote and spot the missing elements, the crowded sentences and that one word I chose to use in two consecutive sentences – not a good look. Editing becomes at least half the work. It’s not always fun, but it helps bring cohesion to your thought process.
- Podcasts killed the written word. Woah! Wait a minute. I am not shooting down all podcasters. Actually I am a big fan of the new medium and I listen to loads of vocal episodes all the time. Podcasts are great when you’re doing household chores, commuting, at the gym… They just aren’t so good when you’re trying to put your ideas down in a comprehensive manner. Chit chat and rambling hosts will steal your nuggets of wisdom and dumb down your inner dialogue. Joe Rogan can spark up some inspiring conversations with his guests, but I don’t need to listen to another story about stem cell surgery in Panama to help me write my story. I opt for music.
- Just because we have technology doesn’t mean we have to use technology. I know that seems hard to believe in 2019 – and trust me I am trying to figure out a way to lose the iPhone and switch it for an old brick but the GPS, Calendar, Camera, Chat apps etc. have good intervention skills. What I am actually referring to is a pen and pad. Yes, those archaic tools Man used for centuries to record and share information. I challenge anyone born before 1990 to take a look at their old school books and their handwriting then, and compare it with their handwriting today. Chances are your school books are full of consistent joined letters. Your contemporary attempt looks like you’re scribbling with your wrong hand. Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of my youth tagging and writing lyrics into stacks of notepads that I value the look of my letters? Either way, I always make sure I’ve got a pen and pad nearby to make sure my handwriting is still on point.