by Molly Jo Realy (@MollyJoRealy)
Eight Habits of a Slightly Unsuccessful Writer
(Or, How to Write When You Don’t Take it Too Seriously)
But first, NOLA NOTE: I recently returned from my annual trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I was told by several professionals I am, in fact, doing the Write Thing (aw, see what I did there?). Most importantly, the Godfather (who shall otherwise remain nameless, to protect the innocent) gave me some words of wisdom on how to proceed. In particular, he opened the conversation with, “Why didn’t you come to me for publishing advice?” To which I
gulped shivered replied, “I didn’t know I could.” Yeah. So, now I have a mentor for future writings, and, you know, a little eleventh-hour input into NOLA.
I’d love to have y’all join my private Facebook group for more information, memes, and all-around fun. (Don’t worry, the Godfather won’t be there.) You can join on Facebook by clicking here: NOLA Swarm.
[Side Note: Pray for the return of Bee the Zebra and Whisper, as they did not make their way home in the luggage, and are somewhere, I hope, still on the Ridgecrest Campus, waiting for my rescue.]
And now, the post you’ve all been waiting for:
Eight Habits of a Slightly Unsuccessful Author:
- Isolate yourself. Writers are lonely, crazy beings with no people skills whatsoever. We have no understanding of human nature, and say things we can’t edit. You most certainly will not learn anything by holding unnecessary conversations, especially with other writers. If you must socialize, do so in small groups, and in small doses.
- Drink copious amounts of coffee. From noon to 3pm, drink gallons of decaf. At 6pm, drink another cup of espresso for good measure. Sleep two hours. Wake up and start all over. Your brain will thank you for it, even if your body doesn’t. If you must drink other than coffee, add something to it. Like fermented grapes.
- Write, don’t read. You don’t have time to pay attention to someone else’s works. It’s imperative you put your own words on paper, in whatever fashion you can. There’s nothing to learn by reading classics or books within your genre. Who cares about the writing style of someone else, or supporting your friends already in print? If you must read, read outside your genre, and read things that will allow your mind to wander as your eyes skim the pages.
- Don’t diversify your creativity. It’s best to focus on your writing and master it completely. Train your discipline. Give up photography, scrapbooking, creative journaling and the like. Other people have multiple interests, but that’s not you. So write. And, only write. If you must express creativity in other ways, don’t let others know about it. Don’t invest in it. And never share it on Instagram.
- Write only what you know. Stay away from fantastical ideas, and topics you’re unfamiliar with. Research? Who has time for research? World-building? That’s too complicated. If you must write new material, use nonsensical words and settings and make it too complicated for others to understand.
- Write when the muse hits you. Don’t worry about setting a time to write every day. Writer’s block? That’s for other writers, the ones who aren’t as focused. Because whenever you sit down, the words always flow without stopping. If you must write on a schedule, make sure to have multiple journals and lists available so you can jot a thousand grocery items and ten ways to fix the house as these thoughts will invariably demand your attention.
- Don’t feed your muse. Stay away from inspirational movies and music. Don’t play with your food, enjoy nature walks, or travel. These will only inspire you in other ways and thus confuse your writing. If you must feed the muse, don’t enjoy the arts or have new experiences. This will only deter you from your true calling of being a writer.
- Never, ever continue writing unless what you’ve already written is perfect. Brain-dumping and first drafts are myths and will not help you clear your head. Definitely do not use place-filler text [“Write Something Here About Rain’s past relationship with Cheryl and have him hint at why he no longer trusts Penny Jo”]. If you must write imperfectly and continuously, do not revisit those pages. They will only depress you and keep you from getting to the true heart of your story.
LEAVE A COMMENT: What tips and habits do you cultivate for your craft?
With a blank page and a full glass,
Frankly, My Dear . . . Savor the Journey!
Molly Jo is better known as the Bohemian Hurricane. She is the author/curator of The Unemployment Cookbook and several eBooks available on Amazon. Her work-in-progress, NOLA, is a romantic mystery novel set in New Orleans, and the first in her City Series.