I came across a great “craft” book recently, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. The author talks about 10 things about being creative that he wished someone had told him when he was first starting out.
From his list of 10 things, which all are great, the following really stood out for me:
#3: Write the Book You Want to Read
“The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best — write the story you want to read.”
I’m really surprised sometimes when I start talking to a writer who’s stressed about what “idea” will be salable in the market today. I always tell the writer not to stress about what’s selling. Instead concentrate on what makes your fingers itch and your pulse quicken. Write what speaks to your heart. That will show up in your writing. Novels like this usually find their audience. Write what you love. Love what you write.
#8 Be Nice (The World is a Small Town)
“The golden rule is even more golden in our hyperconnected world. An important lesson to learn: If you talk about someone on the Internet, they will find out.”
I’m starting to think Twitter has affected some brains when I see crazy-ass tweets. Or when I see whiny blog posts that *actually* seethe with negativity. Working in the software technology sector, I know deleting a tweet or a blog post doesn’t help. It’s out there FOREVER. It’s much easier to be nice than nasty. Plus it’s exponential: When you support your writer friends, they support you.
#10 Creativity is Subtraction
“Don’t make excuses for not working — make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.”
We can get really bummed out if we can’t find time for our writing due to our family and/or job responsibilities. I’m personally learning this year to just work with what I have — no matter if it’s 15 minutes or 3 hours of time. Fretting about what you *don’t* have just makes you grumpy and then no writing gets done. Take it on a day by day basis and enjoy the journey of your novel. Little steps make a big difference. Frustration and resentment yields no progress.