I just wanted to be dramatic and grab your attention with a catchy title. Something that would make you say, “What the hell?”
Turns out that running blenders and hands do not mix.
Hey, there’s a pun in there.
You’ve read this far, so keep going.
This isn’t the advice you’re looking for if you want to know how to write. It’s just here to get you through. It’s here if you want to write. Here’s 10 little writerly tips for you writer types.
1. Murphy And His Stupid Law Can Jump Off A Fucking Bridge
Ideas slap your brainspace at any time. That’s a damn good thing.
Good when you’re ready – it’s like the icing and the cake. You’re unleashed and pounding computer keys. Or when you have a writing thing and paper at hand.
Conversely, this is bad when you’re not ready. You get no icing, no cake, and the party tells you to go to hell.
These times occur when you’re in the shower or driving. Hopefully not both at the same time. At the movies. On a date. Whenever it’s most inconvenient for you.
Kick Murphy in the ballsack. Be ready. Always.
2. The Gold Standard Of Instruments
Remember when the yellow No. 2 pencil was the essential tool of every school kid?
I’m sure there was a conspiracy with the pencil people and schools and stuff like that, but…
Yeah, that same graphite wonder that you carried in your pencil bag can still work magic today. Here’s the benefit: it writes things and it usually has an eraser for your mistakes.
Or carry a big-boy pen for your inkslinging needs.
Any writing instrument will do to translate brainy, inkslingy thoughts onto paper.
3. We Don’t All Have Popeye Arms
Some arms aren’t as big as others. True fact.
Be prepared to have something to write on with that pen or pencil. I like to carry a pack of post-its in the car. Cardboard, napkins, or wood will do. Maybe even someone’s forehead. Be sure to ask first.
4. Fuck You To The Earth’s Edge
Computers freeze. Word documents get stuck. It’s the electronic world’s way of giving humans the collective middle finger. A huge fuck-off.
Sometimes that auto-saved story doesn’t save back far enough to cover the 2,000 words you created. And, those were the best words you ever wrote. The magic is gone. Forever.
Your computer gets smashed with a brick. Shit does, in fact, happen.
Control+S and Command+S need to be your friends. Always. Make it automatic like breathing. Do it often. Stay alive. Lose that brick.
5. Walk Away Slowly And Nobody Gets Hurt
Taking a break from writing his a good thing. Exercise keeps the mind fresh.
It helps with blood flow to the brain and other important areas of the body. Or something scientific or medical or whatever.
6. Grab It, Squeeze It
Were you thinking…You sicko.
But, I like your thought process.
I’m talking about your reader’s attention, which is difficult as readers vary. Their attention span could be the size of an ant or as large as the universe.
You don’t know.
What fascinates one person will bore the shitpants off another. So, good luck.
Just write well and it should take care of itself.
7. Words Are Hard
True story here.
Repetition sucks. Repetition sucks.
See? Told ya.
I don’t like reading the same words throughout a story. You don’t like it. No one does. Yeah, even that guy doesn’t like it.
Using a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book will probably work for you, is not a bad thing.
8. Some Babies ARE Ugly
Reading your own writing is NOT good. Ever.
You wrote it. You cannot read it and be objective.
To quote Margaret Atwood, “You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat.”
Have someone do an unbiased read. You need an honest critique. Coincidentally, editors will help in this area too.
9. A Writing Compass Never Points In The Right Direction
Writers do get lost. Our plots can turn us around. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel does blind us.
Don’t sit at the train stop and cry. Staying in the tunnel will get your ass hit by a train.
No. Don’t do it.
Read through your storyline to see where the train went off the tracks. Hop on the other train. Change things. Correct the problems.
10. WHAT THE FUCK
All Caps Means Business. Pay attention.
This is that point in your writing where nothing works.
Those bastard words never make it past your fingertips. It’s like writing on white paper with achromatic ink.
Sure, you could pray to the writing gods. Reading something else might do the trick. Maybe visualizing the completed, published version of your book will do too.
This is where reality WILL bitchslap you across your mouthpie.
Writing. Is. Work. Period.
John Guare has a great riff on #1 in his Author’s Note to the play “Six Degrees of Separation”: “Luckily the call didn’t come during an appendectomy or wartime invasion
or a loved one’s emergency or a parachute jump. It came when I was in proximity to my pen.”