When I started this blog (what was it, several days ago now?) it was with renewed purpose. I’d blogged before, but like so many things in my life, I’d lost interest, letting those blogs go untouched and wither over time. This time, I wanted it to be different.
Recently, there have been a lot of big changes in my life. To get through it all, I decided I needed to have some goals – something that was lacking in my life before that, which I believe was the cause of a few of my problems. So I made some: big ones like getting rid of my debt and vowing to travel more, smaller ones like taking up a new martial art and getting the back piece tattoo I have always wanted. But the real one, the one I didn’t tell anyone about because I didn’t think I could carry it through, was the vague ambition to ‘write more’.
Writing is the one thing I have really stuck with through my whole life. I’ve talked about how I take things up and abandon them, the crazy obsessions that overtake my life for a little while than I subsequently lose interest in. But I’ve always been good at writing. I’ve always just been able to string sentences together in a decent, readable fashion. I am never at a loss for words, there are always more, lurking and waiting for me to make use of them.
Even though the words come easily enough, it’s been a long time since I really dedicated myself to putting words down. I went through a binge in 2011, where I wrote half a novella in a few weeks, then another later that year where I rewrote that same piece and expanded it a little. Apart from that I’d really only written a couple of things since uni (where I studied creative writing and thus my output was unprecedented.)
Stephen King (be prepared for me to write a lot about him in the future, I adore him. His guide to the creative pursuit of words, ‘On Writing’ is both awesome and ridiculously useful) says “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”. Luckily, I have the reading part down. Yep, got that sorted. Now it’s time to start working on that second piece of advice. You know, the much harder part. King writes a minimum of 2000 words every day and in this fashion has completed a ridiculously large amount of novels.
All well and good, you may say, but King is a millionaire and has the time to write all day if he choses. On this, Neil Gaiman says, “Make your writing time sacrosanct. Even if it’s only an hour a day. Either get up an hour earlier and write (Gene Wolfe wrote all his novels and short stories like this, until he was able to become a full-time writer) or take an hour in the evening, and head away from the world. But take the time, and make the time – the world won’t give it to you back unless you do something to reclaim it yourself.” He has a really great point. If writing is important to you, you will make the time. If you want to be a good writer there is only one thing that will help you: practise.
So that’s my new goal. Not just the vague notion of writing more, but the more concrete ‘write everyday’. Whether it is a blog, a short story, an entry in the Muse Wars or just a few vague ideas on a scrap of paper, I’m going to make the time for it.