People ask me how and where do I write?
As a writer of Memoir, I spend a lot of time thinking about my stories, trying to recall times, years, peoples names, the weather, the situation, social occasions, the environment and the landscape. Though I haven’t kept diaries I have a large collection of paper clippings, newspapers and newsletters, programs and posters of events and a massive collection of photos that I trawl through as research.
I believe it is important to learn the craft of writing through workshops and attending writers festivals, writers talks and taking part in writing competitions. I like to meet like minded people, especially when you live in a remote region as I do, it is food for the soul, and keeps you inspired and writing. I attend any workshops that are offered. Poetry, film and playwriting, fantasy, fiction, non fiction and even erotic writing. These all help to hone the craft, to think about words and styles of story telling for what ever genre you write in. It is also important to read a wide variety of writers and books in the style and genre you practice.
I have not been very disciplined in the times and days I spend writing but for the past couple of years I set aside Sunday and make that my priority day. I get up, make a cup of tea and go straight to the computer, sometimes spending most of the day writing between doing the washing and pottering around watering the garden, having visitors. I try to write at least 1,000 words or more every Sunday, however because I am now writing another book which has a deadline for 1 October 2016, I have resigned from my job and will attempt to write between 5 – 7,000 words a week.
It is important just to write freely, not edit and get everything down. Someone once said in a class I attended, ‘you cant edit an empty page, so you best get some words on it first – don’t worry about what they look like – just do it!’ In the editing process you may find yourself deleting paragraphs at a time and wonder what on earth you were thinking to write such rubbish, but at least you have somewhere to start.
Writers Write! Make it a priority rather than the last thing on your task list. It is not reward after you have done everything else. Give your self permission to spend half an hour, an hour or all day if you want. Write 100 words, 200, 500, 700, 1500 – what ever you need to do. Just do it! The washing and the housework can wait – the kids can make themselves a vegemite sandwich if they are hungry, or you may just have to miss the football game or Game of Thrones on TV to give yourself some time.
The first word is the hardest but don’t worry about the best opening sentence in the world – that will come later. GOOD LUCK.