So you have decided you want to be a writer. It can be hard to figure out which are the best resources for you; in a way, there are just too many choices when it comes to experts offering, or rather selling, their advice, and it can be a mammoth task to sift through it all.
The advice I offer is equally important as the best that’s out there, and it’s absolutely free. The catch? It’s hard home truths; but don’t worry, it may make you smile….maniacally.
Ok, so here are some of the less obvious things you need to know.
HOW TO BUDGET
A bit obvious maybe, except that writers may need to budget for a long time, maybe the rest of their days on the planet, because very few writers become rich or even comfortable. But look at it this way; there is a certain artistic pride in being a struggling writer and you can play that role like a boss.
LIVING WITHOUT MUCH SLEEP
Staying up way past the witching hour is familiar territory to the writer; in fact, you may already be used to making brief guest appearances in your bed, and that is set to continue for the length of your writing career. More frustrating is the percentage of time spent night-writing which actually produces usable content; much of what was written the night before will be filling your recycling bin icon when it comes to the morning edit.
LEARNING GOOD POSITIONS TO SLEEP IN AT YOUR DESK ( See previous point)
This is a difficult one to get right; stop writing for more than 30 seconds and you could be open to nap attacks; your head will be on the keyboard and your computer will be F12ing all over the place before you realise what’s happening. Apart from having keyboard imprint on your head, you may find precious work deleted, so be aware of the direction you may drop in.
HOW TO SMILE SWEETLY WHEN PEOPLE ASK: “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET A REAL JOB?”
Don’t take this too personally; just take solace in the fact that those same people are probably dragging themselves to a job they hate every day. By being a writer, you have a degree of sweet freedom; money isn’t everything.
DEALING WITH THE FEAR OF BECOMING THE CRAZY CAT PERSON
The fear of becoming a crazy cat person is due to spending so much time alone and focusing so much attention on your writing. Pretty soon, you will be holding full scale conversations with your cat/dog/hamster or that spider spinning fancy webs in the corner of the room. You need to socialise with a real person every now and again; remember Stephen King’s The Shining? Jack Nicholson typing thousands of times on an old typewriter: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ That could be you.
THE BEST CONVENIENCE FOOD
Many a writer has secretly eyed a jar of coffee and wondered if they can spoon it straight into their mouth. Handy tip: you can’t, I’ve tried. The best food is anything that comes wrapped and therefore requires no preparation. It’s simple productivity mathematics.
Sitting down at your computer immediately alerts you to the fact that the washing-up needs washing up, the pile of ironing needs ironing, the cat needs grooming, the rabbit needs cleaning out; everything needs doing now, this moment, or the world will simply stop turning. Procrastination is a determined little bugger and before you know it, you will have abandoned your morning of writing because the hoover needs emptying. Fight back; all those silly little chores will still be there tomorrow but by then, you could have written a whole wonderful chapter.
So there it is; advice from the front line. It may not be glamorous or respectable but I would rather wallow in uniqueness than shine in mediocrity. Actually, that could be a good line for my next chapter….