How to Write More

People ask me all the time, “How can you write so much?” I don’t really feel as if I write all that much, but I suppose that at this point my long bibliography suggests that I have. Let’s ignore the fact that it took years to build up that list of publications and look at the most recent and I find that yes, I am writing faster and more than I used to do. You can too.

[I feel like I should be talking like Ron Popeil here.]

My basic writing advice has always been what I tell myself: shut up and write. Amazingly good advice that has served me well. If you’re whinging about writing or tweeting or facebooking, you’re not doing the work of writing. Only writing is writing.

What’s that you say? “You seem to be on social media 24/7, Kate. What’s up with that?”

Yes, it seems that way sometimes, but the truth is I spend less time on social media than the average person spends watching television. I don’t really watch television. The key is timing — and choices. And the other groovy thing? I try out writing ideas on social media and cannibalise what I’ve used.

[Except for the super long fainting goats discussion: haven’t found a way to use that yet, but I will.]

So what’s the real key? Write and don’t stop.

Do you realise how much time people lose faffing about second-guessing their writing efforts? Doubting, revising, deleting, rethinking. Don’t. Write it, finish it, let it set for a while. Then go back and give it a critical eye. Look at what works and doesn’t. Set aside your ego if you think everything you write is gold — set aside your self doubt if you think everything you write is dreck: you’re both wrong. It’s just a story you’re making up. It’s not a matter of life and death; if you’re writing, that’s a good thing because creation is a great joy. There’s another pay off.

The more you write, the better you get.

Agonising over every word is not what makes you a better writer. It’s practice, practice, practice. The more you give free rein to the creative part of the brain, the better and faster and more consistently it will run. Be playful, be fearless — write crap! We’ve all got loads of it in us. But write, then revise, and then send it off. Because someone out there is waiting for your words. You just have to find them. But in the mean time, love writing. It’s a great way to live.

How to Burn Bridges

Into every writer’s life some adversity will fall. You can never predict whether it will be an editor making death threats or awaiting the results of the multimillion dollar auction for your novel. Chances are, however, that you’re much more likely to face common problems: you don’t get paid on schedule, your sales are poor, your life does not suddenly become better because you have a book out there.

You suck it up and get back to writing and sending things out. It’s like lather, rinse, repeat: write, submit, write more. In between you’ll curse at the rejections and crow at the acceptances but life pretty much goes on like that until you keel over at the keyboard.

Except sometimes you really do run into more than the garden variety annoyances and move up into the category that my pal Chloë refers to as ballbaggery (and yes, writers can be equally guilty of idiocy, but seldom in a position to screw so many people in one feel swoop).

I just made a book trailer for a bunch of authors who had dealings with a particularly deplorable “publisher” and bounced back from it by showing him how it’s done; putting together a collection of terrific work by writers known and unknown, with great cover art and professional editing.

What’s that? Surely the bare minimum expected of a published book? Yeah, you’d think.

(o_O)

So here’s the video: consider it a conjuration to cast off the negative effects and replace them with our own success. It’s why we set fire to things we no longer wish to have in our lives. It’s a damn fine book, too. Get it today.