Humor Life Writing

I Should Take My Own Writing Advice

19th June 2017

I’ve been writing for longer than you think.  I’ve been writing for longer than I think sometimes.  I used to write fiction, had five novels on the go.  Used to write short stories longhand.  On my bedroom floor.  When I was 25.  I used to draft things, even when people said to leave that shit in.  I used to type my writing at 3 in the morning, while blasting music I found on Napster.  That’s how far back we  go.  Even farther than that.

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I used to run writers groups for young writers that I am now OFFICIALLY too old for.

I got some stuff workshopped at Uni, had stuff in school papers.  They spelled my name wrong.  Twice.  It ain’t that hard.

Then I left.  To write.  To travel.  To get over myself.  And others.

I also left the novels unfinished.  The poems well-hidden.

I took jobs where I edited other people’s writing.  My red pen was purple.  I wrote 5O word artist bios, research reports.  Stuff with charts.  And numbers. Company newsletters, life-coaching worksheets.

And then, Neil says one night, ‘I’ve never read anything that’s yours.’

I started this blog to write stuff that was mine, that might be enjoyed by people who aren’t Neil.  Or my parents.

I tried a thousand words of fiction.  Again.  They got burned.

We moved here and I thought about hiding and writing and actually finishing something.

I spend A LOT of time telling others they should be writing.  And it’s true.   You should be. But so should I.

But before I start again, I’ve thought about HOW.

And this is what I got.

Write like nobody’s reading. Yet.

Write for you.  But write with someone in mind.  Write to them.  Tell them everything.

Write dialog like real talk.  Because that’s what it is.

Aim for 500 a day.  Less is OK.  More is gravy.

Work on your schedule.  I can’t write at 3am anymore.  After I’ve had coffee, I am a morning writer.  Those people used to scare me.  But I get it now.  Thank you.

Don’t talk.  Write.  Write now.

Screen your calls.  Ignore everyone but your children.  If your children are being annoying, work it in somewhere.

Write more than you talk, but read more than you write.

Do you.  If you write better with music on, blast it.  If you don’t, don’t.  Loud depressing music with intricate lyrics used to work for me.  Not so much anymore.  Now I prefer instrumental stuff.  Like the dishwasher.

Put your heart on the page.  Or the screen.  Or that envelope on your kitchen table.

And if it sounds like writing, re-write it.

What works for you?

Tell me everything.

 

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Also published on Medium.

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45 Comments

  • Reply Nicole 19th June 2017 at 11:05 am

    Twins, definitely. Right down to the purple pen.

    And the Isla meme is too perfect.

    • Reply Lorna 19th June 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Feel free to use it. Her eyes are very powerful, ha!

  • Reply bwcarey 19th June 2017 at 11:55 am

    fine post, just write, best of luck

  • Reply SickChristine 19th June 2017 at 11:57 am

    I used to just write when inspiration struck, but I just can’t do that anymore because sometimes inspiration strikes when I have dinner on the stove or when I’m exhausted and my brain won’t fully function. I jot every idea down, there are post its all over this house. Now I’m trying to write in a more planned manner. It’s difficult, though, because sometimes it feels stilted. I’m not used to it, but you’re right, just write. In the end, that’s the best advice.

    • Reply Lorna 19th June 2017 at 2:35 pm

      I hate planning. But I have to plan now. We should trade post-its!

  • Reply suzycruzy 19th June 2017 at 12:20 pm

    This is great … thank you for the inspiration. 😀

  • Reply ajennysaved 19th June 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Keep at it! I have a novel somewhere that I started wayyy back approx in 2000! I really should finish it.. !

  • Reply NM 19th June 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I read a quote this morning, it said:

    Write three pages every morning when you wake up. It doesn’t matter if its blabber or if it doesn’t come out right. Just keep writing as this helps you de clutter your morning thoughts! This is what I am going to do from today because I too want to be a scary morning writer!!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  • Reply Gabi Coatsworth 19th June 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Good for you! Flash fiction (under 500 words, usually) is a great way to start. And it’s very publishable. I bet you could do it…

    • Reply Lorna 19th June 2017 at 8:44 pm

      See, when I did it FF was 1000 words.

  • Reply millennialexistentialist 19th June 2017 at 7:13 pm

    The thing about us humans is that we are so much better at giving advice than following it 🙂

  • Reply Claire - Heart Handmade UK 19th June 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I need to take my own advice too! My husband (is also my VA) keeps getting mad because I tell him to do things and forget to do them myself… oups. It makes me think of “do as I say and not as I do”. I’m going to write myself a wee note so I remember to take my own advice!

    • Reply Lorna 19th June 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Your blog is my new home decor go-to. Just did a chalk paint search. Thank you!
      Haha.

  • Reply photosynth35 20th June 2017 at 12:56 am

    Great advice! And I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  • Reply Jackie Cangro 20th June 2017 at 12:58 am

    I found that getting up about 30 minutes early to write before work was helpful — but that might be difficult to do with a young ‘un around.

    PS — Napster!! 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 20th June 2017 at 11:06 am

      Spotify is not. The same.

  • Reply Gabe Burkhardt 20th June 2017 at 1:40 am

    This is the best of Stephen King and Ann Lamott’s “on Writing” advice wrapped up in a deliciously digestible bite. I can see the truth and conviction behind your words. I know it’s great advice. I do.

    I wish I could share my own pearls of wisdom with you. I still struggle to publish a semi-coherent blog post semi-regularly. But I do love that sense of satisfaction that comes from re-reading a recently finished post (right before publishing) and surprising myself… “You know, that’s not too bad.”

    Love that.

    • Reply Lorna 20th June 2017 at 11:05 am

      Thanks, Gabe. Funny, I’ve read On Writing, but never Bird by Bird. I also love the not too bad moments, haha. Even read stuff aloud to see how it sounds.

  • Reply Rachel R Ritlop 20th June 2017 at 1:16 pm

    haha what a great kick in the butt! Definitely got me ready to write! good luck!

  • Reply joyfuliowan 20th June 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I need this! I have been struggling to write in my own voice and this is helpful!

  • Reply Lucy Mitchell 20th June 2017 at 2:31 pm

    This is such a great post!

    You sound so experienced. Would love to know what sort of novels you were writing. I am writing novels and I find dealing with people’s views on what I should leave out / leave a struggle. Everyone has different views. I also get emotionally attached to my characters which means I have to step back a lot.

    • Reply Lorna 20th June 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks, Lucy. I’ve done a lot, but there is much more to do. If I was that experienced, I wouldn’t be writing about not writing. I have everything but the fecking discipline. Working on it. I really respect what you’re doing, keep going! Always here to talk. xox

  • Reply julie @ shorts and longs 22nd June 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I’m officially inspired. Yes. Not many people get to read what is “mine” because I write for other people all day long. This is a (lovely) kick in the pants. Thank you, Lorna!!

  • Reply thebeasley 24th June 2017 at 10:56 am

    This is sound advice & I should adhere to it. Weirdly, for someone who is a huge music fan (I have to have music accompanying literally everything I do), I have to have complete silence when I’m writing. I just get distracted otherwise. I’ll get writing then, Miss 👍🏻

  • Reply noellekelly 24th June 2017 at 11:09 am

    For me goals seem to work, that’s how I finished book 1 draft 1. I’ve given myself to the end of July to have it in good shape for a manuscript critique!
    Just keep writing! 💖

  • Reply ic 24th June 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Hi,it’s a great and inspiring write up.
    I am new here,would you like to comment on my work and help me improve ? …

  • Reply Lutheranliar 24th June 2017 at 3:29 pm

    This is a great line: “Write more than you talk, but read more than you write.” Elmore Leonard wrote a great book about great writing. His best piece of advice? “Try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Go, Elmore! And here’s mine: “Write like you are talking to a person. One person.”

  • Reply actualconversationswithmyhusband 24th June 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Realistic writing advice – I love it!

  • Reply charlottevwj 28th June 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Lorna,

    These are great! Motivated me to write and keep writing!

    Charlotte

    • Reply Lorna 28th June 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Charlotte, did you know your blog link is kinda blank? Just a head’s up. x

      • Reply charlottevwj 30th June 2017 at 7:13 pm

        Oh thanks Lorna!!! I honestly didn’t know that. Gotta look into that!!! Bloggers lookout for bloggers!

  • Reply Janice Wald 3rd July 2017 at 5:55 am

    Hi Lorna,
    Important tips. I recently published about overcoming Writer’s Block. Your tips would have come in handy as a reference.
    Janice

  • Reply Janice Wald 3rd July 2017 at 6:06 am

    Congratulations! Your post won the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. You’ll be featured on my site tomorrow.
    Janice

    • Reply Lorna 3rd July 2017 at 9:21 am

      Oh, how groovy. And it’s given my idea for a new post. Thank you, Janice. I appreciate it!

      Lx

  • Reply ellenbest24 8th July 2017 at 7:49 am

    Hi Lorna, I popped across from the #FollowItFriday facebook hash tag and now I’m following you. Dont you think sometimes we stand to close, as if to an abstract painting? Bear with me a bit, so close that we see the colours and smell the turpintine … but we can’t quite capture the art, the very thilng.
    I look forward to reading to hearing your voice betwixt the lines, the one’s you have been standing to close to.

  • Reply NaNoWriMo Prep & Other Words – Gin & Lemonade 27th September 2017 at 3:14 pm

    […] So, there’s that.  More writing tips from me, such as they are, can be found here. […]

  • Reply Jennifer 30th September 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I am a morning writer and put Isao Tomita or other 70’s electronic music on. It helps to take out any other noise of people watching tv, etc. and keeps me focused on the task at hand.

  • Reply angelanoelauthor 30th September 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: reading your posts make me feel like you just “get” life. Including all the good, the bad, the hard, and the super-fantastic-can’t-get-over-the-joy-of-it. I’m happy to take your writing advice. And to give a little of my own. Do it not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard and what we say matters. Finding your reader, just as you say in this post, isn’t a matter of writing for the crowd, but for writing to that one person who will walk away with your words in his or her head and be changed by them.

    • Reply Lorna 30th September 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I love you and your wordy comments and posts. Truly do.

  • Reply Wendy 22nd October 2017 at 11:45 am

    Gosh I do write semi-regularly, but I am rubbish and only do it when inspired and in the mood…!!!

  • Reply Theresa Bailey 22nd October 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I just had this thought recently about my writing. It’s felt off. Then I realize the majority of the time I’m featuring others on my blog. It’s necessary for what my site is, sure, but I need to start writing for me again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply Caron Allan 25th October 2017 at 3:39 pm

    What you said. Except that I’m 57 so it took me an extra twenty years to learn what you’ve just said. Write like you would if no one read it but you. Remember the first draft is supposed to be a mess. I love depressing intricate music to write to. Unless I’m writing my stuff set in the 1920s and 1930s, then I listen to Cole Porter and Al Bowlly. I have now written 15 novels, and numerous short stories, poems, blogs, abandoned projects etc, I’ve given up the freelance editing (In my head I’m singing ‘I gotta be me…’) and I am now a full-time writer, something I have wanted since I was 8 years old and wrote my first story. One day I might even have an income…

  • Reply Lisa Orchard 1st February 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I try to write at least 1000 words a day first thing in the morning and that seems to work for me. I don’t always reach my goal, I get sidetracked by social media, but don’t we all? LOL! I also find if I’m passionate about a story. I’m very focused on it and I write in all my spare time until the story’s done. I just finished one that I’m very excited about. I’m squeeeing all over! LOL! I can’t wait to see where this one goes!

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