Ha ha ha ho ho hee. I can tell you how to not write, if you want. Actually, I think I will. Here are my rules for how NOT to write. I don't find it all that hard to blog, but when it comes to working on my novel? I'm terrible. Really, I am.
1. Jiggle your leg really fast for five minutes while you lean your head on your hand. Jump up every two minutes to wash one dish. After you sit back down, think for two minutes, write one word, and then get up to wash another dish. Maybe you need to put a load of laundry on. Maybe you really need a pickle. Oh, yes. You need that pickle. Get the pickle. Now you need another one. Sit down and jiggle your leg again. Pull up your shirt and examine your belly. It's bigger. Gosh. Maybe you should Google "am I having twins" again. But first, there is something between your teeth. Go on, go to the bathroom mirror, and while you're there, tweeze your eyebrows because face it, they're getting out of control.
2. Think about all the great writers you know of. Compare yourself to them. Admire their PhD's maybe, or just their solitary madness. Tell yourself that you had better not write any crap. No crap at all. Every word must be a jewel, a twinkle, a star in the deep darkness that covers the earth. Then try to begin. When nothing comes, lie on the floor and sob. Notice that the carpet needs vacuuming. Go in search of the vacuum cleaner.
3. Sit at your computer, open up your word document, and write a few words. Then put your chin in your hand and daydream about what it will be like to be on Oprah. And think about sending a copy of your bestselling book to your Writing teacher from the twelfth grade. Maybe you should include one for your Literature teacher, too. She was always nice to you, wasn't she? Then think about money for awhile.
Rest assured, if you employ the above methods, you will have no problem NOT writing.
Here are my tips for writing: I don't have any. Ha ha, just joking, actually, I do, but they're short and not all that deep, so I'll give you a few and then share some of my favorite quotes from writers who rock and happen to all be women.
1. Find your rhythm. Feel the words, taste the sentence. Run it over in your mind. Is there a cadence? A rhythm? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go get your favorite book of all time and read it aloud. There will be a natural flow to the words. Find your flow. Make it musical.
2. Sit your butt down. Sit down like you are glued to the chair. Turn your airport off, so that you can't access the internet. Then write as fast as you can. Or as slowly as you want. Just remember, you are building. You take a little piece out of a bunch of crap, then another little piece out of tomorrow's crap. The sad news is, you will have to write crap. The happy news is, you will find the jewels inside. (Don't follow my imagery too far, lest it make you queasy.)
3. Carry a notebook everywhere. Because if you are like me, your mind is like a sieve. So write it down, when you see it, when you hear it, when you think of it. Think like a detective. Become a spy. Make use of your position as an observer.
That's about it. Then there are the more ephemeral pieces of advice from writers. When I first started writing, I really didn't like this kind of advice. "Just give me a time of day, type of pencil, and how many words, and I'll do it," I thought. But lately, slogging through my own insecurities, I find these people to be incredibly encouraging.
Here's Madeleine L'Engle. "If the work comes to the artist and says, 'Here I am, serve me,' then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve. The amount of the artist's talent is not what it is about. Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, 'Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.'"
Annie Dillard says, "A well-known writer got collared by a university student who asked, 'Do you think I could be a writer?' 'Well,' the writer said, 'I don't know... Do you like sentences?' The writer could see the student's amazement. Sentences? Do I like sentences? I am twenty years old and do I like sentences? If he had liked sentences , of course, he could begin, like a joyful painter I knew. I asked him how he came to be a painter. He said, 'I liked the smell of the paint.'"
And of course there's Anne Lamott. "The writer is a person who is standing apart, like the cheese in 'The Farmer in the Dell,' standing there alone but deciding to take a few notes. You're outside, but you can see things up close through your binoculars. Your job is to present clearly your viewpoint, your line of vision. Your job is to see people as they really are, and to do this, you have to know who you are in the most compassionate possible sense."
And I would like to give the ROAR! award for Powerful Words to Kiwords, Sweet|Salty, and jo(e). Can't wait to hear what you say!