Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Writer's Survival Guide #IWSG
Since writing is not unlike surviving a zombie apocalypse, I've compiled a short list of rules on how best to cope with being a writer:
Rule #1: Cardio
When we're in the zone, or worse, trying to be in the zone, we sit around staring at our computer screens, our blank pages, the fuzz on the carpet. Our brains quickly turn to mush before we've even typed 'Chapter 1'. We need to get the blood flowing, the creativity sparking. The sparks of inspiration come from memory and daydream, but we can't access those resources if we're slumped and sluggish. If you can't bear the thought of those nasty star jumps—who invented that torture, anyway?—then go for a walk, ride a bike, use your gym membership that's been choking under a layer of dust.
Rule #2: Safety in Numbers
Not only is writing a sedentary occupation, it's also a solitary one. It can get mighty lonely as a writer—no office chit chat by the water cooler for us. The problem with being alone for so many hours is that we start to get a distorted view of our work. We'll either think it's awesome when it's not, or we'll think it's the worst piece of gelatinous sludge on a pile of stinking refuse when really it's awesome. We need to hang out with not just a group, but a crowd of supportive people. Friends and family keep us sane. Other writers keep us writing. Critique partners push us to do better. Editors keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. Publishers make our dreams come true.
Rule #3: Knowledge is Your Weapon
To charge onto the battleground unarmed is folly at best. The more you learn about the craft, the industry, and all things writing, the better equipped you'll become. Read copious amounts, in a range of genres. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read books on writing. Go to seminars. Attend conferences. Learn, learn and keep learning, and all the while keep writing. Take up arms and charge forth with strength and courage.
Rule #4: Enjoy the Little Things
As with a zombie apocalypse, you'll need to maintain your sanity by staying positive. Remember why you started writing in the first place. Was it to silence the voices, explore a concept, indulge in a little escapism? Or perhaps it was simply the love of stories and words. Remembering our reasons for embarking on this crazy journey will buoy us up so we're able to float down the river of insanity without getting wet.
Are you are survivor? Can you add any more rules to this list?
Insecure Writers’ Support Group founded by Alex J Cavanaugh and this month it's co-hosted by Rachna Chhabria, Mark Koopmans, and Lynda R Young (yours truly)!! To learn more or join up, click here.