September 3, 2014

Writing Club Wednesday: Some Advice from Neil Gaiman

So, I have a Tumblr. Right before I sleep after a crazy day, just mindlessly scrolling through Tumblr is the perfect way to de-stress and unwind.*

Usually, all I find are funny gif-sets or cute dog photos. But recently, with awesome writers** like Maggie Stiefvater, Beth Revis, Lauren DeStefano, Melissa Marr, Sarah Rees Brennan, Tamora Pierce, and Neil Gaiman  all joining Tumblr, I also occasionally stumble upon really good writing advice that gets me all pumped up and inspired to write again.

And so this morning, I wanted to share with you a list of really good advice that I found on Neil Gaiman's Tumblr, which I recently discovered in this cool graphic form.

He says a lot of really wise things in the ten pieces of advice (which you should definitely check out if you haven't done so already) but I think what struck me the most were the first three things on his list: "Write," "Put one word after another," and "Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it."

This advice was critical for me since--especially when I first started writing--I sometimes had writer's block because I was afraid to suck/fail/write crap/etc and was stressing myself out too much about how to "write properly." I'd feel too overwhelmed because of my desire to make things (the plot, the character, the prose, what have you) "perfect" or sometimes because I had too many things I wanted to write about and couldn't commit myself to one project (and I didn't want to make the "mistake" of choosing the "wrong" one.)

Somehow, it totally escaped me that in the end, none of this mattered. Or at least, not as much as I thought it did, as long as I actually wrote things down. Even though things probably sucked now, they could always be improved on later, and if I didn't know which project to commit to, it was better to have two (or more) separate, unfinished projects than to have absolutely nothing.***

I especially love the simplicity in his #1 piece of writing advice, which is just the word "write."Of course, not everybody will find this advice helpful (it is a bit obvious, I know) but for over-thinkers like me, a reminder to just "write" and "put one word after another [and do] whatever you have to do to finish it" can go a long way.

I wish you a happy Wednesday and hope this was as helpful to you as it was to me.

Remember: WRITE.

* I tried writing/reading during this time but after spending the entire day writing/reading hundreds of pages for work-related things, my vision blurs when I see black text on white paper & my writing becomes something like: "and then he walked into the get cake???" so I save these activities for the morning.

**And literary the New Leaf Literary Agency, Emily Keyes, Maria Vicente, and 
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg to name a few!

***After all, it's much easier to go back and fix (or add to) what's already there than to try to work with nothing at all.


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