Do you argue with strangers on the internet? (I plead the fifth). Even if you have enough self-control not to engage most arguments and comment sections, chances are high that you think through how you would argue with them if you weren’t fairly certain they are a troll in an alternate universe. Also if your mother wasn’t your friend on Facebook.
Are you leveraging those thoughts? Or just rehearsing them, allowing yourself to feel irritated and angry? Put that energy to good use for your writing. Your next character is hiding in the comments section of nearly any forum. Here’s how to find him or her.
As writers, there is no replacement for reading as a practice to become a better writer, but studying film or television can be just as instructive.
Ultimately we’re building models for our own work by asking one critical question. What if that one question could make you a stronger reader, viewer, and ultimately writer?
You finally reach the last page of a book that kept you up all night and close it with the afterglow of satisfaction and a tinge of regret that it’s over. If you enjoyed the book enough to stay up reading it way past your bedtime, consider writing a review. It is one of the best gifts you can give an author.
But as you face the five shaded stars and empty box, a blank mind strikes. What do I say? I mean, is this a book really deserving of five stars? How did it compare to Dostoevsky or Dickens?
Maybe there’s an easier way to write a book review.
There are three words that can kill any dream before it leaves the ground: “As soon as …” As soon as I finish this course … as soon as I get noticed … as soon as I revise … as soon as I get a marketing plan in place … as soon as the kids are in school … as soon as I ride the glitter pony of creativity … and on and on.
Yes, it is helpful to have action steps that inform your forward motion, but for too many of us who want to do creative work, we’re waiting on something that isn’t really keeping us from our writing. Our real barriers are beliefs that tell us we have to wait for the right conditions, along with the false assumption that one day we’ll “arrive” at our goal of being a successful writer and the need to create will feel satiated.
Newsflash: those “right” conditions and that “perfect” moment are not coming.
I’ve just signed up for a writing contest, and I turn on “Eye of the Tiger” as I sit down to pound out my first draft. This is it, I tell myself. This will be the story that finally wins. I light my creative candle called “Field of Dreams” and place a mug of freshly pressed coffee next to my laptop. A few finger exercises and I am ready to write the story to end all stories.
But what if nothing comes? Or worse, a story pours out and it’s terrible? What if I don’t win? How can I develop a winning mindset without reading an entire shelf of self-help books and further distracting myself?