Lets get this straight from jumpstreet. The only time you shouldn’t be writing is when you’re sleeping or dead (and no, showering is no excuse, you lazy turd. Ever hear of waterproof pens?!?).
If that is, you are a flawless FUEL INJECTED TURBO CHARGED WORD SPEWING MACHINE. If you are, good for you. Asshole.
But you’re not. You’re a broke-down hoopdie with a bad carburator and a droopy tailpipe. It’s why you’re here, hiding out from the writing matrons in your head like moody Goth teenagers behind the high school gym.
Besides, you got a life. I’m savvy. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. Sure. Okay. So when you’re out there in the big bad world not writing, what can you do to help support your writerly mojo so that when you DO sit down to squeeze some word babies out of your engorged and teeming brain, you don’t come up dry?
Assuming you’re not a total fetus and understand that “READ” and “JOIN A WRITERS GROUP” are at the top of the list, I’ll skip the rudimentary stuff and move on to the more advanced:
1. TRAVEL. See some stuff. Meet some people who speak other languages and don’t wear deodorant. I find going to places where there is a much higher risk of making an idiot out of yourself (and being robbed at knifepoint. True story.) does great things for one’s writerly awesomeness. It also does this:
2. SCARE YOURSELF. Really. Find something that scares a little of the s**t out of you, like taking a high wire ballet class, and do it. Fear is one of life’s great teachers and also a guaranteed way to grab your drowsy life by the lapels, shake it vigorously, slap it hard in the face and scream “WAKE UP YOU IDIOT!”. An awake writer is a good writer indeed.
3. MEDITATE. Just a little. I know. Shut up.
4. CREATE A RITUAL. One of the weirdest and oddly effective things I picked up from Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way”. What do I mean? I mean, create some sort of thing you do every time you sit down to write. Pray a prayer (Oh please God, PLEASE let my word babies be pretty!). Do an erotic fan dance. Have a quick meditation. Do an Aboriginal chant. Climb into a sack of angry squirrels or simply make yourself a cup of joe. Whatever it is, do it, then sit down and write. A writer’s ritual, when repeated, will very quickly teach your brain on a subconsciously kick ass level that you mean business.
5. BE MORE HONEST. This isn’t a license to become a grade-A jackwagon, but it is a call to start living your life with more integrity and credibility. And more awesomeness. So get brave and start telling the truth to yourself and others where it counts. Being comfortable with honesty makes you a more courageous writer. And what else? You guessed it. More awesome.
6. EXERCISE. This really belongs with the Beginners Tips, but since it’s so important, I’m putting it here. Move your fat, lazy caboose. Walk. Jump. Do yoga. Run from wolves. Whatever. A living writer is much better than a non-living one. I sound high, I know, but it’s true.
7. EVICT TELEVISION FROM YOUR LIFE. Its too easy to get comfortable in front of this brain-feeding succubus. Besides, there are far cooler ways to keep up with current affairs and Real Housewives. Don’t judge. Unless you’re Frodo living in a Hobbit hole without internet, use HULU or Netflix or any of the dozens of services available on your computer. Trust me, its for your own good.
8. VOUNTEER. Why?!?!? You need more of a reason than “To contribute to the welfare of all creatures great and small?” Wow. You really ARE an asshole. Fine. Then let me explain why:
(By the way, see how I”m using tip #5 to great effect? I feel more credible already!)
A.) You should volunteer because altruism makes you feel good about yourself. Many people suffer from some degree of self-loathing and/or a lack of confidence, especially creative types. Volunteering gives you the kind of meaningful boost you can’t get any other way. And also;
B.) Because there’s a large segment of the creative population that trends toward self-absorption or misanthropy. If they don’t flat out hate people, they regard them with general disinterest and avoid getting involved. Volunteering will put you in the direct line of fire of people with bigger problems than you, and will cultivate a greater understanding (and therefore more empathy) for your fellow man. You can’t communicate very effectively about a subject that doesn’t interest you, so unless you plan to populate all of your work with telepathic furniture, you’d better get more interested in the human race or your stuff will lay flatter than a two dimensional pancake. Boooooooring.
9. GET THERAPY. The life of a creator is a marathon, not a sprint, and the creative soul cannot thrive long-term in an environment of drama and chaos. I’m not kidding. Save that bullsh*t for the page. Chronic depression? Bad relationship? Mommy/Daddy issues? Coke? Weed? Booze? Food? Sex? Whatever your poison, get some emotional Ipecac. Go to a therapists office, unzip your guts and let them spill out all over the floor. Repeatedly. Again and again. Is it fun? No. Does it suck? Yes. Will it interrupt your writing life temporarily? It might. So what. Do it anyway. A year from now you can still be flogging the same dead horses or you can be free of your baggage and on your way to becoming a happier, more productive writer. The “tortured, artistic soul” act is passé. And idiotic.
10. GET FREAKY. Do something naughty every once in a blue moon. Connect with your dark side or, in the immortal words of Lou Reed, “Hey baby, take a walk on the wild side.” Mind you, don’t knock over a dollar store or run naked through the streets of the Magic Kingdom or get arrested for smoking hashish in a daycare and then complain that I told you to do it. Use your brainpan! Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t hurt others. Don’t be stupid. Just sometimes…you know…be a little naughty. *titter titter tee hee*