I missed posting yesterday. It was a bad brain day: crying for no reason, being a whiny brat at people, being clingy, poor impulse control, the lot. I have a counselling appointment on Tuesday and let me tell you, I need it.
One day I should tell you all about healthcare in Wales. The short version is: we have an awesome thing where we get our prescriptions free. We have a not-awesome thing where our doctors refuse to refer us for treatment (whether it be psychological or surgical or whatever) to get us off said medications. And then blame us for the NHS being short of money.
(The long version involves me being told I wasn't sick enough, despite verbalising that I was so anxious I would really prefer not to exist.)
Anyway, pondering the post of two days ago, rules for real writers
, it occurred to me that it didn't really cover what I think really
makes you a writer. What you should really
do to qualify. So here it is.1. Write when you can.
Which is to say, don't write when you can't. Treat writing like training for a 10k, or studying for an exam. You're gonna have to do a certain amount of work to get there, but there's no point in running on a broken angle or studying when you have a migraine. In fact, you're going to make things worse.
And you can't rely on anyone else's training plans, either. I've switched my 10k training plan three times now, because I'm still in the process of figuring out what works for me. I used to do NaNoWriMo, but it turned out that while I got stuff written, I burnt myself and the idea out in the process
. That's not productive. But likewise, writing less for 365 days a year doesn't work for me either: I produce utter crap, day after day, and it isn't
So yeah, write. That is crucial, but learn how you
need to write, too.2. Experience the world as much as you can.
Stretch your limits. If you're sighted, learn to read simple braille. If you're deaf, read about musical theory. If you can only speak your native tongue, read books in translation. Or learn another language. If you're useless at crafts, you can still benefit by listening to other people talk about their knitting. Talk to people through whatever medium you can. If you don't have the spoons to go to the pub, pop into a chatroom. If you have social anxiety, lurk in forums online. Read books, fiction and non-fiction. Watch documentaries, watch cartoons, watch re-runs of Blake's 7 and classic Doctor Who.
In short, stretch yourself
. And maybe you don't look all that flexible from outside, but that doesn't matter.3. Take care of yourself.
And that's really the most important rule. People often push the idea that you need to do nothing but write, enjoy nothing but the act of writing. That's a pile of excrement. If writing feels like getting blood out of a stone, you don't have
to. Maybe you're only going to trigger a migraine with the stress. Maybe your fingers are dislocating from typing too much or your tennis elbow is playing up from the repetitive movements. Safeguard yourself
-- you're the only one who can write your stories.4. Care about it.
You won't always enjoy it, but you have to care. It can't really be a chore, because trust me, we as readers will know.