“Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” ~ Red Smith
If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, you’ve heard this advice and then some. So what more could I tell you about writing?
Please, please, please don’t actually open up your veins and bleed to get a story out. So. Not. Necessary! I like Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on this best. (If you haven’t read her book, Big Magic, I strongly recommend you stop reading this and go read that! And then, come back to this ;)) Make writing a positive exercise…don’t be the martyr writer who suffers for their art. Why? Why should you suffer? Life’s too short. Live and do the things that bring you joy. Write the stories that teach you, the writer, something about yourself. Make your creation have both meaning and bring you joy. I’m not talking about the “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” kind of joy here. I’m talking about that quiet peace that covers your insides and reconfirms that what you are doing is right. You’re a writer and you are doing what you are meant to do. You are fulfilling your destiny. Not bleeding out for your destiny.
What you’ve heard is true. Never give up. Writing is an obsession…thankfully a relatively healthy one, but it requires a lot of dedication. It’s said you can’t be an expert on something until you’ve read over a million words on a subject. Or, in an author’s case, until you’ve written over a million words.
By the time you’ve written a million words, you better not give up! That’s years of writing. YEARS! Don’t throw away years of writing just because you haven’t reached a predefined level of success. Who defined what that success is, anyway? That’s right. YOU. So don’t be the naysayer to your own dream.
Yeah. Just write. But more than that, find a group of writers who are better than you and, more importantly, are willing to let you in. Search out a proven mentor who can guide you in craft or industry or the do’s and don’ts of writing. So what if you aren’t published. So what if you haven’t typed The End. Treat writing as your second job. Take it seriously, but also… “You must learn to become a deeply disciplined half-ass.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic. (I have a huge girl crush on Elizabeth Gilbert, by the way.)
Okay, that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. From all my years of writing, it always boils down to these three pillars of advice…which are probably universal truths for writers which is probably why you’ve heard them a million times. But if you haven’t, there you go.