This past Saturday, I was invited to a “Meet the Local Author” event at the Essa Public Library in Angus, Ontario. There was a terrific turnout, and I was able to chat with a number of attendees before and after the event. One of the most common questions I get asked, both at events, and during author interviews, is if I have any writing advice. In my February 17th post, I talked about becoming a professional writer, with a nod to the queen of the amateur sleuth mystery, Agatha Christie.
But what if you’re not quite ready to become a “professional writer?” What if you just want to hone your craft? Here’s the best advice I can give you:
Make time to write every day. The writing muscle is like any other muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
If you exercise regularly, you know the truth of this statement. Exercise regularly and you start to feel better. Stronger. Suddenly, you’re making better food choices. You’re parking as far away from the mall entrance as you can, instead of circling around the wheelchair accessible parking, looking for a spot right next to it. You’re in control and proud of it.
You also know that a couple of days off can lead to a week off, which can lead to a month off…and before you know it, you’re sitting on the couch, eating junk food, watching reality TV, and feeling sorry for yourself. What the heck happened to that buff-body-in-progress?
The same thing can happen with writing. As long as you’re writing every day—even if it’s just for thirty minutes—you’ve got a work-in-progress. Maybe it isn’t perfect, maybe it’s not even very good…but as every day goes by, it gets better, easier. It becomes something to look forward to, instead of something to avoid. It becomes part of your daily routine.
You don’t have to start big. Even marathon runners start with that first mile and gradually add more distance every week. Writing is no different. Think of it as a word marathon and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!