Your Writing Implement

When thinking about the actual writing implement you need to do your best work, don’t throw away the idea of writing longhand. It might be tempting to tap into your computer and end up with a finished product much faster, but there’s a certain beauty to the mechanical process of longhand. Something of the craftsman comes out.

I bought myself a new pen the other day, and thrilled I couldn’t wait to get home to try it out. It’s a fountain pen, which I didn’t know comes in a broad nib – that’s my pre-requisite for a pen. None of that scratchy, fine-line rubbish for me. When I want to make a mark, I want to make a MARK! The advantage is it just flows across the page, like a gel ink pen only cheaper to run (I go through a broad gel ink pen in a day when things are hotting up). This means my hand doesn’t cramp up as fast as when using a ball point. When you’re writing manuscripts of around 100,000 to 150,000 words, you have to think of these things.

If you do use a computer, my advice is to learn to touch type. It’s a skill I learned a long time ago, and I’m so glad I did, even though I had to brave my mother’s protests about it. My telling her I needed to learn to type because I wanted to be a writer didn’t really help me persuade her it was a worthwhile subject to study when there were physics and chemistry to learn. Oh joy. I can learn about forces and angles. That’ll be good for playing pool down the pub on Friday nights.

But if you don’t know how to touch type, and you don’t want to write longhand, you can always check out voice operated software.  It translates your spoken word into written text, so you can type as fast as you can speak.

Creating Your Writing Space

One of the first things a beginner writer does is create their writing space.  While the physical environment is important, it’s beneficial to think about the psychological space first.

Writers need to understand how they write best in order to get the right space.  Writing is generally an occupation that involves lots of time spent alone.  If you’re an introvert, that probably suits you.  If you’re an extrovert, it’s gonna be a struggle.  The physical space you choose might be able to take this into account and help keep you at the page.

 

For example, I tend to have a short attention span – no getting into long periods of intense writing for me!  While some people need silence to work, I need a low hum of noise.  I have a desk to write at and a space all to myself free of interruptions, but I can’t keep still enough to write in it for long unless I’m on my way out the door in half an hour.  One way in which I manage this need for action and people without the action/people pulling me away from the page is to choose an environment where there are things going on but not things that need my involvement. 

 

For this reason, my writing space is spread all over town!  Coffee shops are better for me than libraries (who can concentrate with all that silence around?), and I never write for a whole hour during my lunchtimes.  If I’ve got 15 minutes while I’m waiting to leave for an event, I sit down at my desk and write a paragraph or two (often, this turns into a page).  Lots of little grabs of time and an assurance that it’s only the first draft and no-one’s ever going to see it means that I can write about a page or two (longhand) in half an hour.  Put all those grabs together and you get a book! 

So if you’re thinking you can’t write because there’s not enough time, set yourself up in a way that makes the most of the time you do have.  Even 15 minutes can yield a few words, but you might want to ensure you have a plan and some notes about where you’re going to make picking it up and getting into ‘The Zone’ easier.  Every problem can be worked out, so give it a go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I write

A couple of years ago, I found myself at a crisis point.  After a series of ‘right’  decisions that had turned out wrong, I ended up flat on my backside wondering who I was and who I wanted to be.  I worried that when I grew old, I’d look back on my life with regret that I hadn’t done something that filled me up.  I’d always wanted to be someone creative, but didn’t think that I actually was. 

 

At the same time, I had 25,000 words of a manuscript that somehow seemed to tap in to the very restlessness that I felt.  Over the next few months, while I was battling with my own inner demons, I pulled the manuscript out and began working on it. 

 

It wasn’t easy.  I didn’t have a lot of time to commit to it, but I chipped away at it, keeping it in my mind as something I had to finish.  As it grew, it built up its own momentum.  As I read more about how other writers write, I played around and learnt more about how I write, and eventually, I finished the whole thing. 

 

In working to produce that manuscript, I seemed to find something that grounded me.  Instead of being a peripheral activity, writing is now the centre of my personal life, deeply important to me.  Now when I’m old, I’ll have answers to my questions.  Even if I don’t get published, I will have spent my life crafting stories, and that’s more than I dreamed.

 

A bit about this blog

 

I’m an emerging Australian Speculative Fiction writer with a passion for stories and the craft of writing in general.  I write Fantasy, and am currently writing my second book. 

 

I’m interested in psychology, history and archaeology, and these interests inform my work.  I’m also passionate about the craft of writing and love exchanging tips on writing with other writers.  When you’re starting out, there’s so much to learn that it can be daunting.  There have been some very generous writers who have helped me, and I’d like to ‘return the favour’. 

 

The other thing is, writing is a hard slog, especially when you write tomes of 100,000 words or more.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you’re in this gig – until you hear from other writers!  The encouragement you get from those who are going through the same ups and downs that you are is worth water in a desert.  The more you get, the more inspired you are to keep at it. 

 

Hence this blog.  It’s to remind me and other emerging writers of why we do this.  I hope you find it useful.