The DPR of writing – Perseverance

Over my 20+ years of teaching creative writing, I’ve seen a lot of talented writers. There are usually a couple in every class, students whose writing I look forward to reading, and who actively welcome workshopping and feedback. And yet I have also learned that even the most talented may not have the perseverance to keep writing, no matter what. What does no matter what mean? Well, to me it means to keep writing despite rejections, obviously. When you are sending out stories and poems and … [Read more...]

Discipline and your writing

For many new writers, the idea of applying discipline to their writing is like applying a whip. Who can write under a whip, they protest. It would kill my inspiration! But sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike will eventually kill your writing career. (Notice I said career – if you want to write purely for enjoyment, go for it!) Any writer who has a list of publications will tell you that it can only be achieved by discipline. You may write one or two stories, a handful of poems, a … [Read more...]

The DPR of a Successful Writing Career – Discipline

One of the hardest things to get to grips with, if you want to make writing a career (as in get published) rather than a fun or satisfying hobby, is the discipline required. Author Bryce Courtenay is famous for using the term ‘bum glue’. Quite simply, you have to glue your backside to the chair and write, and do the same again to revise. And revise. No matter how long it takes you or how difficult it seems. It’s easy to turn excuses and procrastination into a block. The blank page can be … [Read more...]

The key to getting published

How would you feel if someone told you you were unlikely to ever see your work published? Would you give up now? Or would you say, I'm going to write anyway because I love writing? Or would you say, I'm going to write and be published no matter how long it takes? The answer to the question, if you were able to give it honestly, might contain the key to your writing life. Many people write for pleasure with no thought of publication. Emails, letters, diaries, journals, family stories, things … [Read more...]

Breaking down writer’s block

It can be handy to visualize your writer’s block before you tackle it. Does it feel like a wall? Imagine pulling it down, brick by brick. Does it feel like a black hole? Imagine creating a swing of words and floating over the top. If it feels like your mother or father sitting on your shoulder, you have to turn around and shove them right back in the corner! Every time you sit down and write, your block gets smaller. Every time you give into it, it gets bigger and harder to vanquish. So the … [Read more...]

Does writer’s block really exist?

Where does writer’s block come from? Why do so many writers complain about it? What does it really mean? I remember someone saying one day, “If I employed a plumber to fix my bathroom pipes, I doubt he’d ever say he had plumber’s block and couldn’t do the job!” That’s true, but there are a couple of extra elements to the plumber and his pipes. One is that it’s his job and if he doesn’t fix those pipes, he doesn’t get paid. Another is that although he might have to get creative to fix the … [Read more...]

Writing is easy

Writing is easy. And writing is hard, really hard. I sound like I’m contradicting myself, but it’s true. Some parts of writing are easy for some people, and some parts are hard. I love first drafts, and find them easy. I type fast, and I think through the story and characters when I’m not actually typing, so that when I sit down at the keyboard, the words come fast and usually fairly easily. Rewriting is hard for me. This is when I lose faith in my words, wondering how, if they came so … [Read more...]