Read of the Day: “Advice For Writing; Or, What I Know So Far, Which Might Actually Be Nothing At All”
5:30 pm, September 16th | by Colette McIntyre
1. Don’t have a deadline. Or if you do have a deadline, make it a deadline that you made up in your head and your agent or editor agreed to when you said it out loud but then you quickly dismissed it, much like you dismissed the established required hours of your work-study job back in college, because who’s really keeping track? Certainly not you. Deadlines, schmeadlines! You’ll get to it when you get to it, which is to say, never.
2. Keep a close eye on your Twitter account. Important things may be said there that you will be expected to weigh in on, and if you don’t, everyone will wonder if you fell asleep in the bathroom stall of the bar last night and are still there, head sunken low next to the toilet, one lost contact lens embedded somewhere in the floor grime. Make sure they know you’re not; that was the you of 100 million years ago. Or, for a fun joke, pretend you’re still there. “Hey, can anyone let me out of this stall??? HellooOOO??? GUYS. GUYS.” 140-minus characters is still writing, of a sort.
3. The above goes for Facebook, Instagram, Gchat, IM, text messages, phone calls, snail-mail, carrier pigeon, whatever it is that you use to communicate regularly with other humans by way of a secondary vehicle. Make sure you’re returning to those vehicles regularly because if you’re not, are they even still there? Are you? What if you disappear completely from this world, the Internet, and no one even notices? That would be a nightmare of modern proportions. So, just as you’re about to write your first evocative-important-profound-distinguished-hiliarious-and-also-elegant sentence, stop for a minute. Was that a gchat beep? Have you received an email meant for the other Jen Doll who has a career in baby photography? Circle back to check immediately. Allow anything and everything to interrupt you from the task at hand. Gchat waits for no woman. A Google Hangout, are you ever going to have one of those again? If you’ve lost the thread of what you were about to write by the time you return to writing, well, of course you have.
4. Have no idea, literally, actually, no idea whatsoever, what you want to write. Talk about it a lot, what you might write, because this makes you feel like you’re doing something, and isn’t talking basically just writing with your face? But really, in your heartest of hearts, be clueless. This is a justification for your procrastination, because surely all this time your mind is thunk-thunking, work-working at what you want to accomplish, right? And once it gets there, the words will flow from your fingertips like you’re making wine out of water, or words out of finger movements. Easy, breezy, writerly.
To find out how to actually write, click here.