On the wall above my writing desk I have two pieces of motivational advice that I printed out a few years ago. They both basically say the same thing: that to be a writer you need to act like one. Up until now they’ve just been bits of paper that I occasionally look at and think, ‘I really should pay more attention to those,’ but as of last Thursday I’ve actually started to take the wisdom they impart to heart.
The first, and perhaps most important piece of advice they offer, is to write. The suggestion is that one thousand words a day is good, though more is better. This is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be written down, but all you writers out there reading this can probably relate to that feeling you get when you know you should be writing but simply can’t work up the motivation to do so. That’s why I now make a point of sitting in front of my keyboard at least as long as it takes me to add a thousand words to my work in progress, even if I know I’m going to editing most of into oblivion at some later date.
Next on the list of things to do is editing. This is also something that should be second nature to most writers but I can tell you from experience that sometimes it’s damned hard to edit your own work. This is why I’m definitely going to be using Scribophile and other online writing forums to get feedback on my work. In return I’ll be critiquing other peoples’ works, fulfilling the requirement to do some editing that way. Even if I only submit one critique a day to Scribophile at least I’ll be doing something.
The third thing every writer needs to do according to these motivational scripts is to submit work for publication. Personally I don’t find this one as important; I don’t really write much in the way of short stories, and the longer works I have in the pipeline are almost certainly going to be self-published. However, as I’ve mentioned above I will be submitting them all to Scribophile so perhaps this counts? I’d like to think so.
Those are the three things that both print-outs have in common, and as a result they are the three activities I’d consider as a daily requirement for anyone who wants to be a ‘serious’ writer. I’d also consider one other activity that’s only mentioned on one of the print-outs: expanding your online presence.
I personally believe that in today’s world every writer needs an online presence of some description, be that a dedicated website, a Facebook page, or simply a registered profile on a general writing site. I know there are writers out there who don’t agree with this, but for me having an online presence would seem to be about the most important piece of self-promotion any writer can do, and keeping that presence up to date and relevant doesn’t need to take all the time in the world.
For this reason I’ve decided to start making more of an effort, not just with this website but with my online profile in general. Keen-eyed readers will have already noticed the two reviews I posted earlier; both of these were also posted on my Goodreads profile, and thanks to the cross-posting systems I’ve got set up on this site will also appear on my Google+ page, on my Tumblr page and will get tweeted through my Twitter account. I don’t do Facebook, for a number of reasons, but think that the social networking I have got set up should more than make up for that.
This does mean that I won’t be doing my monthly Books Read posts any more. Instead, I’ll try to cross-post all of the reviews that I post to Goodreads. I’ll also try to post more articles covering a wider range of writing related topics, as well as the usual random updates, rants and rambles that have become the norm on here.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I am making more of an effort to take my writing seriously, and so far everything seems to be going well.
Let’s see if I can keep it up, eh?