On writing

You’re a writer: go home and write

There’s a well-known story about students who paid big money to attend a famous writer’s screenwriting class. The famous writer gets up at the start of the class and says, “You want to write screenplays. What are you all doing here? Go home and write.”

I don’t know if this story is true, or just a myth passed on by people like me who hear it from other people, who heard it in turn from other people. Still, it makes a valid point.

Everyone has times when writing has to take second place, but it’s what you do with the precious minutes you can spare that count.

This is the difference between someone who finishes a novel and someone who says, “One day I want to write a novel,” but gets nowhere.

For family reasons Sherylyn and I clocked up 700km for each of the last two weekends and will do it again for the next two.

I am working full-time at present, Sherylyn is studying three days per week. In the same two weeks she has had two major assignments to complete, plus a mid-semester test.

What did we do in our spare time? Sherylyn played Runescape while I read novels.

Neither of us did a scrap of work on any of our writing projects.

That’s fine, if we only do it for a week or two, but if we keep doing it for the whole month we need to take a long hard look at our writing habits and our writing dreams.

We will never get anywhere if we don’t continually make the effort to write. As Angela Booth says in a 2003 article on writing …

“You must practise … Use it, or lose it. Sports people know this. So do pianists, ballet dancers and artists.”
Angela Booth, Five easy ways to become a confident writer

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