I have a big birthday next year. (Believe it’s 30 if you will). However, I am finally learning truths about myself and life that would have helped if I’d known them before I was twenty. Does anybody else know what I mean? Did you ignore them because they sounded trite?
It extends to the writing process. For example: “Bum in seat. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just write. ” This is not advice anybody with their rear end on a chair, staring at a screen, wants to hear. But fourteen or fifteen years after I heard it, I finally realise it’s true…sort of.
This is what I think they mean.
- When you’re inspired, you can write on the backs of an envelope while making a meal and hearing children read. But you have to sit down to make those ideas into something longer.
- You can usually find inspiration eventually, but you need to know where to look. And this is personal. In my case, when I’m stumped on something, I need to articulate the problem and turn it into questions I can answer.
- For example, This scene is boring. And then, Why is it boring? What’s supposed to be happening? What’s this supposed to be revealing about the characters? Can I make it more interesting by changing the point of view? Adding another character? Swapping the setting?
- Sometimes, the advice is just wrong. Sitting there does everything more harm than good. When this happens, I need to walk away and focus on something entirely different to get any kind of perspective.
I hope this saves somebody else a decade of angst.
What are your “easy truths” that have only made sense years later?