Targeting Writing Intangibles
There are oodles of practical writing tips out there in how-to books, the ether, and cyberspace. Generous established authors are only too-willing to share what works for them. Everyone seems to have some type of writing advice for aspiring authors whether they know what they’re talking about or not. The internet is jam-packed with websites that specialize in how to write fiction novels, including Wordy, and tons of articles abound on writing blogs. Of course, many of these articles are helpful and can lead to successful writing, but I caution you to only accept the intangible advice that works for you and dismiss the rest.
So, what are these elusive intangibles? I’m not talking about the mechanics of writing, grammatical correctness, punctuation prowess, spot-on spelling, or book must-haves. I’m referring to guidance that has nothing to do with practicality and everything to do with moving beyond fear, completing the WIP you started, squeezing in time to write, creating the best writing spot for you, and finding your unique writing voice among others.
Target whatever impalpable thingamajigs are in your writing zone, assign them equal status alongside the more concrete priorities of writing such as watching out for the pesky long and winding sentence or avoiding the ever-popular head-hopping mistake.
I read somewhere that American writer John Steinbeck, author of such greats as The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, and Of Mice and Men, recommended writers to write freely and as fast as possible. He suggested that authors refrain from rewriting or making corrections while in the writing zone. Instead, he pointed out that rewriting during the process of getting your entire story down on paper is an excuse for procrastination. He further contended that doing so interfered with the flow and rhythm of the material. Steinbeck was obviously a prolific writer with several masterpieces to his name, but that doesn’t mean writers need to follow his counsel to the letter. He did what worked for him, but it is not a hard and fast rule.
In fact, I’m the opposite. His opinion about this doesn’t work for me. I can’t be the only one out there who feels this way. I prefer to read what I wrote earlier before beginning a new writing day. I find this method inspiring and motivating. It helps me set the stage for the next scene or chapter. It helps me keep the flow going rather than distracting from it.
Aspiring authors are sometimes timid sponges ready to soak up any and all advice and put that into practice. Trust me, my darlings, you must find your own way and tweak the tips and pointers from others to fit your own writing experience.
Good stories don’t happen in a bubble. It takes many attempts and much editing to get it right. Writers need a strong foundation of intangibles that work, and help to get the job done. These are often developed over time. As I’ve stated in previous articles, I didn’t touch down on this aspiring author path out of the blue as a top-notch, writing warrior. I found my way in my own time and at my own pace. When I first dipped a toe in the literary waters the realization that the learning curve was a huge magilla, hit me square in the face. It wasn’t long before sinking or swimming were my two choices. Sure, the prospect of quitting the whole writing kit and caboodle stared me down with its stink-eye, but I chose to swim. I learned everything about the publishing world and how to draft a successful book. I’m still learning.
I’ve structured my life in a way that promotes my writing, with intangibles that work for me. I urge you to put your finger on the impalpable writing things that will set the foundation for your best writing.
My Intangibles: (in no particular order)
Creating a motivational writing spot that inspires me
Setting aside a block of time to write
Reading and editing previous work for my current WIP ahead of adding to it
Reading the work of other fiction authors
Establishing writing goals big and small and smashing those goals
Mulling over story scenes in my head
Giving up the good to go for the great
Taking meaningful breaks to rejuvenate myself
Understanding the need to walk away from my WIP and let it marinate
Grabbing inspiration from everywhere
Keeping true to myself and my writing style
Implementing inspired action
Continuing to learn
Researching where needed
Being open to collaborating with others
Celebrating my accomplishments
Spinning new ideas and creating helpful articles
Sharing my knowledge and practical advice through those new articles and tips
Eating healthy and getting enough rest
What are your writing intangibles?