Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Acting Like a Writer

So how do you act like a Writer?

If I put that sentence into a search engine, all sorts of wonderful posts come up - How to think and act like a writer, how to dress like a writer, how to be a writer. It seems that I could spend days reading about the act of being a writer rather than actually getting on with the act of being a writer!

For me personally, acting like a writer is about the following routines and disciplines, although I could probably benefit from easing back on point 6 below - you'll realise when you get there.

1) I like to ensure that every day there is space and time for writing. This is usually first thing in the morning and if I have early meetings, I try and wake a little earlier to ensure that I can spend time with my journal. If I don't make the early morning slot, then I find time later in the day even if it's just before I go to bed. Although I have found that if I miss out on morning writing, my day feels unbalanced and my head in turmoil. The act of unloading my thoughts onto paper first thing is a powerful thing. I have come to realise how good it is to have this in my life.

2) I love the act of sitting down with a notepad, Laptop or iPad to create - whether that be creation of ideas, a first sentence or a few words that keep playing over and over in my head and demand something be done with them.

3) Acting like a writer means that I finish stories. Whether these are to be shared or they are purely for my own pleasure, I like the act of completion. I like to know that I've given my character every opportunity to be themselves. I like to make that sudden twist at the end of a story and I like to see words transform into something bigger once they are put together.

4) From a social aspect, I love to meet with other writers. I enjoy hearing their perspective on the act of writing, what catches them out, what keeps them going, how they like to create, how they generate their ideas. I'm simply interested in writing. I guess it's like any other interest - we like to meet with like-minded folk that share our dreams.

5) Ultimately acting like a writer means you have to write. You have to keep showing up on the good days and the bad days, especially the bad days and those days when the last thing you want to do is write. Those are the days to really conquer.

5) Finally - Cheese and Chocolate. I couldn't finish this post without mentioning the snacks that hold body and soul together during the tougher times. A chunk of mature cheddar and a cracker to eat while contemplating a character's next steps or a few pieces of dark chocolate with a frothy cappuccino while I reflect on the plot. Forgive me - I'm only human after all.

I'm sure that there are many more aspects about acting like a writer to explore and I'd love to hear from you about your own writing routines and disciplines, even if it's your preferred writing snacks. I'm interested in food too!



18 comments:

  1. Angela--well said! I would add that honing one's senses in everyday life adds to a writer's ability to make her work more visceral and 'real'. Be in the moment and notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes. Touch the world around you. "Write' a description in your head, inn the moment. You will become accustomed to observation and your life so enriched. Your writing can not help but benefit.

    Thanks for the great post, Angela!

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    1. Hi Christine, many thanks for your comment. I totally agree that getting in touch with all your senses and using these to benefit your writing will add depth to both writing and life! It's certainly something I try and do, but not always successfully so thanks for the timely reminder. Look forward to reading some of your posts.

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  2. Ha ha! Yes, cheese and chocolate!!! I think you've hit the nail on the head with that one :)

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  3. Hi Kate, I know - what can I say. I might be able to act like a writer but not like a thin person!! :-)

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  4. Hi Kate, I know - what can I say. I might be able to act like a writer but not like a thin person!! :-)

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  5. I tend to lean towards a chocolate cheesecake instead of cheese and chocolate. Best of both worlds!

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    1. I see where you're coming from Lyle and like your way of thinking :-)

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  6. Caffeine is absolutely an essential ingredient to writing. And I think as writers, we are especially discriminating in our tastes. I liked that you put down frothy cappuccino. My go-to is a cup of black, home-brewed Five Country Espresso blend from Trader Joe's.

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    1. I've been to the US a few times but never to a Trader Joe's. I'll have to check it out next time. Thanks for the recommendation. I definitely don't think I'd be able to continue without my caffeine fix.

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  7. Oh yes definitely cheese and chocolate is an essential part of a writer's life! For an experiment, a friend of mine and I once tried eating cheese with chocolate....It was surprisingly ok! (cheddar and one of those milk chocolate lint balls since you ask ;) )

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    1. Ha Ha - glad to hear you experimented with the cheese and chocolate. I might need to try it myself one time and by the way, I love those Lindt chocolate balls - good choice.

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  8. Great choice for the letter A. Acting like a writer also means doing a lot of reading. The best writers are voracious readers, too. You learn a lot from reading the work of others. How can you know whether your own work is any good if you don't know what both great and terrible writing look like?

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    1. I agree Susan. I love to read. Do you have any favourite authors to recommend?

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  9. Oh, very nice.

    I agree - acting like a writer means you write. For me, it also means you read regularly, and it means you find people to read your work. That last bit is key - getting feedback and using it to get better is just as important as the composition and the reading of good writing.

    I know what you mean about your day feeling unbalanced. I don't write much fiction; I'm mostly an essayist and communicator (some might say rabblerouser, hehe). But I have to write everyday, or almost. The most miserable periods of my life are the times when I was going weeks or months without sitting down and getting those words out of my head.

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    1. Hi Gene'O. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think feedback is very important for a writer particularly one that wants to develop and grow. In fact, I'm part of a writing group locally and I'm trying to get some of the interested group members to join a specific critique group so we can share feedback and support each other.

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  10. This resonated most with me: "acting like a writer is about the following routines." I totally believe this, and boy, is it so hard for me to do! It's so easy to get distracted and let a day slip by without writing. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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  11. Hi Laurel - Yes why are there so many distractions or of course is it just that I'm choosing to be distracted rather than write. Thanks for commenting.

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  12. I like to stand to write now, in front of my computer. I used to sit and started having leg and hip issues. Now I feel much better. I like to write in quiet. Noise stops my thought process. I like to write in spurts. Like for half an hour, then take a small break, then go again. I liked this post very much. Thanks for the ideas.

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