10 Things I know about writing (not in order of importance)

Continued with 6 -10

6) I know great things will happen if you write in the morning—or in the virtual morning.
Morning is the time for fishermen, birders, bakers, and writers. Those few minutes before your normal wake-up time, are great for catching fresh ideas. That’s the time when you’re least likely to think logically and most likely to let yourself be wild and surprising.
Begin while you’re still asleep and when you can hardly form a cohesive thought much less worry about writing well. Write lying down with eyes closed. If you’re really bold, try your keyboard before your morning cup of tea or coffee—write freely and wildly and fast.
If you’d rather suffer from gout than get up a half hour before your usual rising time, if it takes a four-alarm fire to get you out from between the sheets, I offer an alternative. Virtual morning. These are the times during the day when your brain is least likely to try and impose order and logic and tidy grammar. The middle of the night might be your virtual morning. Or after working out at the gym, or while you’re on the elliptical machine. I keep index cards with me at all times so I can catch inspiration when it strikes during my virtual mornings.

7) I know that writers are your friends. Your fellow writers are your safety net.
We’re here to help each other when the path gets a little rocky—a snotty review or, as happened to a woman who came to me for a consultation on the novel she’d been working on for eight years—her mother read the first chapter and said, “Well, that was stupid, I certainly hope the rest is better than that.”
We’re here to cheer each other on when the going is great—that new contract or that rave review. When a friend or acquaintance has success, know that means you can have success, too. Embrace it. There’s plenty to go around.

8) Sooner or later, you will experience a collision between your creative process and your creative career. Your process and your publisher represent two very different worlds—both real. Often, less than compatible.
When that collision happens, you suddenly feel your publisher is speaking Greek—and your publisher is equally convinced you’re babbling in Pig-Latin.
Don’t panic. You will learn to translate. But remember—Ite-wray ur-yay art-hay.

9) I know that you are not sitting here today because you smell $$$.
In the Book of Money—in chapter one, 20 Ways to Get Rich Real Quick—you will be amazed to learn that a Writing Career is nowhere to be found. Check out the list on page 26, the Top 100 Ways to Get Rich Even Quicker. No entry for ‘Writer’.
That’s not an editorial omission.
As a writer, your bottomline is not $$$–it’s not that $8 million dollar contract that goes to a handful of writers on the bestseller list. I know this because…
If your bottomline IS $$, you should be out auditioning for The Apprentice, or studying the European Common Market, or buying a Quick Pick Ticket, or, even, robbing a bank.
Let me quote from a recent article in Writers’ Digest—“Habits of Successful Humor Writers. In a recent survey…writers who earned more than $5000 last year were more likely to sit down and write w/o waiting for a humorous idea to strike…the biggest challenge for high-earning humor writers was finding the overall concept…not individual jokes.” Let’s stop here. The sad joke is that HIGH-EARNING humor writers were those who earned more than $5000 last year. All those low earning humor writers brought in $500 or less—all the way down to $0.
It’s still true, that most working professional writers earn less than $5000 per year. Which is one reason a sense of humor is priceless for any writer.
As a way to earn a living, writing often requires a tolerance for poverty; at the very least, flexibility and stamina to navigate the lean years that come between the flush years.
So I ask you to learn http://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifas much as you can about who you are as a writer at this moment. Consider carefully—Do you really want to ask your Creative Heart to bring home the bacon? That’s a lot of pressure for your creative heart to bear. For some of you, the answer will be Yes, for others, the answer will be No.

That said, here’s the good news! For the moment, forget that cheesy old Book of Money and instead, pick of that elegantly bound Book of Life, and flip to page 2. Under Authentic Life, there it is, Writer! Under Meaningful Life, Writer, right there at the top. Under Valuable Life, yep. Under Life Most Curious and Zestful, Oh, yes. Under Life Worth Living—You bet.

10) I know that many people will tell you to keep on writing what you’ve always written as long as it sells. Smile politely, but know they are crazy. It’s your job to take care of and honor your muse, your gift. It’s your job to keep your creative flow going. To do that, embrace and explore new ways to express your voice. Speak up, speak out.

For more information, take my free writing course!

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