There’s nothing wrong with writing stupid or pointless things. I think, that’s maybe the best bit of advice you can offer a new writer. Much of the content of Douglas Adams’s work is stupid and pointless, but done in such a majestic way. Sometimes we just want to read something totally ridiculous, to remind ourselves that our lives are not so bad after all.
I imagine every writer has trouble coming up with ideas from time to time. We get the occasional muse, but otherwise we are just as boring as the rest of the world. I think the trick is keeping hold of those muses, those ideas, when they spring up. Whenever I get a story idea in my head, if I don’t have time to write it out immediately (which is pretty much always), I create a notes page with all the details I can think of.
I just made one for a new story that came to me last night, after watching John Wick II, and just before crawling into bed. I had to fight the urge to just let it go–I’m one who loves his sleep. Instead, I booted up my slow-as-slugs desktop and typed out everything that was filling my head. Never let a good muse go to waste, certainly not for an extra 30 minutes of sleep.
I think Lisa here is too hard on herself. She’s got some talent with words, as her article suggests. The hardest part about starting to write is casting aside your ego and jumping in. You will never know if you can write a novel until you try. Investing in a long project makes you nervous? Write a short story. Write anything. Just write.
The ideas will come once you’ve provided them a space to sit and enjoy their tea and biscuits (those would be cookies for my countrymen). Imagination is a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it will atrophy. But the more you train it, the stronger it will become.
Don’t be discouraged, Lisa. Just sit down and work that mental muscle.
Writing, like any art or discipline, takes daily practice and dedication to learning about the craft from those who have come before you. In learning, I like to teach, so each week I will take a piece of advice from the greats, both living and dead, famous and not, and apply their lessons to my […]