How do writers write?

How do writers write? An impassioned plea for sound advice, by Jade Jones…

ideaAfter spending another night staring blankly at my computer screen, allowing the endless stream of Facebook posts to parade unseen past my unfocussed gaze, I wondered why I was not using this clearly wasted time to write.

I realised perhaps it was due to my lack of a writing routine. I know fellow writers who put on particular clothing, or sit in a select chair. Others choose the same time of day, or prepare their writing tools with ritual precision.

I have no such device. I ride writing like a lazy surfer, waiting for the swell of emotion to carry me to such a height that I cannot help but guide my pen through the sudden rush of inspiration. The trouble is, in the moments when I am comfortably attired, seated in the most desirable chair, blessed with a miraculously uninterrupted block of time, and sit waiting before the most beautifully arranged stationery, the tide is out.

And when I am seized with a word, a sentence, an idea, a character, or any such swirling current, I am too tired, ill-prepared, unmotivated, or simply unable to do a damned thing about it, and I can only watch out of the corner of my eye as the wave crests and falls and settles into dark and unsettled sea foam.

So I have no choice but to seek help from the writers out there who are drowning in manuscripts, whose filing cabinets spit wads of paper scrawled with ideas, whose fingers ache from mad scribbling – how do you do it? Do you have a routine? Is there a secret placement of pens that unlocks your creativity? Is it your favourite socks? A good breakfast? A walk in the park? The alignment of Jupiter with Uranus?

I will take any and all suggestions on board. At present, my prospects of producing a novel, or even a first chapter, are drifting out to sea with a nauseating nonchalance, and as I farewell yet another day without penning a word, I swear I can hear the theme music of Jaws slicing through the salty air!

2 thoughts on “How do writers write?

  1. Writing is not an end in itself. Being a writer is not the end game, it is the ongoing search to adequately express what we think, how we see and feel about the world. Good writing springs out of desire/ache/need to say something, and to say it well. What burns in you? Write about that. What makes you laugh? Write about that. Passion is the starting point. Ponder—explore the mysteries. Carry it around with you. Pray for clarity. Play, experiment. Practice. Press forward.

    Salt and light, that’s the calling. Fountains of living water. If we are to write anything significant we must first attend to the deep places of our own lives. We must dispense with distractions and set our hearts and minds to listen, to receive, to be set on fire by the Fire. It takes time, consistent and committed, unhurried. It means exposing the sore spots, admitting to the logs in our eyes, learning to be different. It means being transformed by the renewal of our minds.

    As we do this we write. We share what we have learned and are learning still.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everything Anne said, and some practical tips that help me:
    A competition or anthology with a deadline and a theme
    A certain time and place for writing
    Stories suggested by my dreams (some are definitely more promising than others…)
    Putting a strong memory of mine into the life of another person and seeing what happens
    Even just writing drivel is helpful as a starting point, a way of sloughing off the dross to enable the deeper things to rise to the surface.
    I like the advice that says that writers are simply those who write – so just write something. Don’t let the goal stifle the start; accept that the first draft will be rubbish no matter how hard you try and that the best writing is the rewriting; write to find out who you really are deep inside; write as an act of worship, in collaboration with the One who made you and loves you all the way through.
    Hope some of this kick starts you!


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