A Kryptic Blog Post…
I am by no means the iconic author of our times. I am not being requested on every talk show on television. I am not being called on every radio or podcast circuit to do interviews galore. I have not been called by every movie producer or studio to option the rights to my work. I have not even begun to creep close to any of the noteworthy bestseller list. My favourite celebrities, authors and literary types have not had a single thought close to an inkling to read my debut novel despite my many “@StephenKing would love you if you could check out my novel and if you cool like that #Retweet it. Thanks bro! #WritingCommunity #WritersLift #Author #Desperate” tweets.
I am certainly not dating some It girl or It-girl adjacent who tweets and promotes my works shamelessly in her social circles. I am completely off the radar. So what qualifies me to write a blog about writers writing? Well, because there is one thing that matters when it comes to the mystical art known as writing and well you can guess what that is.
Put simply. Writers write. We don’t talk about writing.
Writers don’t use it as an impressive line to pick up girls at a party, although this has been known to work on occasion. Writers don’t even blog about writing, shot fired! Hear me, newbie, wannabe, hopefully, writer, just write. Seriously!
Okay so now that is out the way, what does that mean? I too am sick of people dumping vaguely profound platitudes that leave you more confused and wanting that clear on how to proceed. So as a great friend of mine always says, “allow me the honour and the privilege of giving it to you like this!”
The most helpful advice I received to create a sustainable writing practice is the same that I will give you today.
Step 1: Schedule time
Find a suitable time daily, even the weekends, and schedule this block of time in your diary using your calendar app, whether Outlook, Google Calendar or iCloud Calendar.
Pro tip: Start small and build up to longer stretches. I started with a 10-minute daily practice. Over time, I built up to 20 minutes, then 30, 60 and from there, the sky is the limit.
Step 2: Find a location
You’ve heard it said before. Location. Location. Location. Writing is no different. You need to find a space which sparks your creativity and use that as your writing location to anchor your habit of writing. For me, the table set on the porch in my backyard overlooking the garden.
Pro tip: Explore different spaces until you find one that speaks to you and summons the writing muses to your aid.
Step 3: Start with a free writing exercise
First things first, if you are like me, you will experience a great sense of resistance. There are so many great distractions and alternatives that vie for our attention. I found the most helpful thing to get me into the writing mindset was to do a 5-minute freewriting exercise. Just write about the first things that come into mind for 5 minutes without stopping, editing, going back to review etc. Just keep writing.
Pro tip: Don’t focus so much on what you are writing, but the fact that you are. You are trying to develop the habit to write in this location. The more you do this, the more readily the inspiration will come.
Step 4: Breaking it down
Once you 5-minutes are up. Stop free writing and see if there is one idea in the text you can draw on and incorporate in the work you are preparing. If you are just practising, focus only on one aspect of the craft. This is in line with Deliberate Practice™ tips by Anders Ericsson, the leading world expert on becoming an expert. Ericsson alludes to the fact that the experts in their field, practice in this way as well, for example, if you are trying to become a tennis pro, you find what you are weak in and work on that. If it’s your serving, then only focus on improving your serve. For us writers, it might be our dialogue or characterisation. Focus on only writing dialogue for a scene in your work in progress (#WIP).
Pro tip: Focus on one aspect of your craft at a time. Break it down into its component parts and practice improving each part, so when you put them together again, the whole is far better.
Step 5: Practice makes perfect
The last thing, I will advise is that you repeat, repeat, repeat. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your practice. Over time your resistance to writing will fade away, and you will find yourself looking forward to the next session where you get your creative juices flowing.
Pro tip: It is not about just repeating as Ericcson will tell you. It’s about deliberate practice. You need to review the work you have done, get feedback from others on whether you are improving, make adjustments and then do it again while incorporating the feedback.
And there you have it Kryptic fans. Follow these steps religiously, and you will find yourself not only talking the talk but walking the walk. Now if the above was not enough, here are some awesome quotes to get you inspired to go forth and write!
Happy Writing Kryptic Fans!
Author. Entrepreneur. Modern-day Philosopher. Gary blogs about various topics to help writers realise their full potential independent of their medium. He is a debut author of The Coward Novel, and the founder of a local South African Tech startup. He is also a speed reader, movie and television connoisseur and plays a mean quidditch game. Connect with Gary for advice, witty banter or just to shoot the shit.