Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Working and the Writer

What defines 'work' for a writer?

1. Writing. D'uh. Emails don't count, but blogs, short stories, articles and novels do. What also counts is writing out story ideas that you file away for later use.

2. Dreaming. Some will argue with this, but if you don't free your mind sometimes how are you going to have ideas and inspiration? Other people will call it the muse or some other name, but dreaming is a pleasant word to use and will annoy non-writers.

3. Planning. This could be post-it notes stuck on a wall, a floor full of bits of paper, or even just scribbling in a book.

4. Reading. Anything that helps you write. It doesn't need to be in your chosen genre, to get ideas for articles in other magazines or to get a feel for a particular magazine, but it will teach you about, or reinforce your knowledge of, writing.

5. Talking and Listening. To other writers naturally. Not necessarily face to face, but in blogs (like this one, so count it as work), newsletters, tweets, messenger services or facebook...and I mean facebook groups, NOT family and friends.

6. Shopping. In a bookshop, not for anything else. Not just buying books either, but seeing what's available, who's writing what and seeing what types of books dominate the shelves and the displays.

7. Researching. Background psychology for characters, walking around the streets of Rome to get a feel for the setting of your next novel anything that helps you to convey the look of feel of a place or character.

Most of the writer's life isn't spent writing, but researching, learning and reading in order to become a better writer and it's a process that never stops. What work have you done today?

5 comments:

DRC said...

What have I done today? Well, let me see...I've dreamed, dreamed, dreamed some more, done a bit of work for the ol' job, continued dreaming, played with the cat, and then got on to some actual writing.

Did I mention that I dream???

gusDon said...

A note is still required, because we can assess what has happened, it's a good thing right?

I hope!

Ted Cross said...

For me I would have to say that my blogging doesn't count, or at least not much. I suppose I do sometimes get some ideas while blogging that help with my work, but for the most part I am not making progress on my novels when I am blogging.

Victoria Snelling said...

Today I did some thinking about structure, read some awesome GRRM, and did some research into why I procrastinate so much. (and yes I was feeling the irony).

@Ted Cross - no, blogging isn't writing your novel, but it is writing practice. My writing has become so much stronger because of my blog writing and my novel benefits from that.

Martin Willoughby said...

For me, anything that you write that takes concentration and effort and that you take time to correct the spelling and grammar of, is real writing. When we learn, improve and practise, we become better writers.