Welcome to week 34 of Anthony's series that aims to help you write a novel in a year. Read last week's post here
- Take care of
you, the writer.
Breaking it down
your inspiration (again!)
post has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with the writer. If
you take care of the writer, I believe, the writing will take care of itself.
contrary to common belief, are not immune to the realities of life. We don’t
recline on a chaise lounge all day popping bon-bons and dictating our prose to
our secretaries – that only works if you’re Barbara Cartland. And Barbara
Cartland was as much as a myth as she was a bestselling romance writer.
Last week, at
a writer’s dinner, someone was talking about inspiration. I’m probably going to
get some of it wrong, but this was the gist of it.
Michelangelo’s days, inspiration was seen as something that came from the gods above
to an artist – it was an expression of something outside of the artist. In the
Renaissance, inspiration was seen as something that came from inside – it was
more about self-expression.
I think both
are interesting angles on the mysterious process of writing. The truth is,
writing is pretty mysterious – we
don’t always know where our ideas come from or why we write.
What I believe
is that a seed of talent – a tiny, fragile seed, I believe – is given to us as
a gift. We need to look after it and not abuse it. The rest is, I think, just
hard work. It’s craft.
approaching here in the southern hemisphere, I thought it would be a great
opportunity for a spring clean. A ‘seven-day detox’ if you like.
This is where
my journal or diary can help. It’s time to do a ‘brain dump’ or even a ‘soul
dump’. Write down all the negative things – fears, anger, all of it. What kept you awake the night before? What
worries you about the future?
you’ve done that, write out all the good things that have happened to you – in
your life, this year, this last week
Just free write – fill up as many pages as you can.
finish with a list of affirmations. Write down your top five strengths as a
writer and as a person. You could even
do these on index cards or on bright coloured paper. Sometimes there are great
inspirational quotes on Twitter and Facebook. Print these and put them up at
in the mirror
Write, we often ask delegates to dismiss their inner critic. For me, I always
thought this was the old crone of a high school French teacher who told me I
was ‘lackadaisical’ – a good word, I’ll give her that, and probably true of me
a lot of the time even today. Other times I thought this critic was some spiny
covered monster with bloodied teeth.
The other day
I woke up and realised that my oldest and most persistent critic is me. We don’t always see our ‘blind spot’ and, even
when we do, we don’t do anything about it.
year, when I’m so committed to, and focused on, writing my novel, the one
person slowing me down is me. It’s like having a coach who doesn’t believe in
you – who doesn’t want you to win gold.
If you knew an
athlete who had a coach like this, you’d probably tell them, ‘Find another
coach.’ That’s good advice. We all need
to believe in ourselves. That doesn’t mean we’re not aware of our faults – we
just need to be even more aware of our strengths.
We have to see
that mental picture: crossing the finishing line. It’s what should keep us
going even on the glum days. Don’t lose your equilibrium. You can do it!
Timelock — 7 days
Spend an hour
a day on your ‘spring cleaning’.
5 Quick Hacks
what you need as a person. Then decide what steps you must take to get what you
Do the same
for your writing. Write down what you need to make your life as a writer work.
How will you make that happen?
columns. On the left, write down everything you hate about writing. On the
right, write down everything you love about writing. Compare.
qualities you’d look for in a writing coach or mentor – how can you cultivate
those in your own mind?
Ask someone to
be your mentor or, if you have the resources, hire a life coach.
Pin it, quote it, believe it:
characters’ lives should spiral out of control. Never your own.’ — Anthony
Look out for next week’s instalment of Write Your Novel In A Year!
by Anthony Ehlers
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