Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White
More on Stuart HERE
Stuart continues his tips on how to….Be Encouraged
YOU CAN TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER
- REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS
Another tip is to remind yourself what you’re writing or what you’ve written. When I get blocked, and thank God that’s rare, I look at my published novels and go, “You wrote these didn’t you? You’re allegedly a writer? Well come on, shape up you wimp.” Luckily I live alone so I can talk to myself aloud without having men in white coats burst in and drag me away.
- MAKE A COVER FOR YOUR NOVEL
Mock up a cover for your novel. When you’re published you can put your book cover there to encourage you to write number two. But for now mock one up. Seriously. It’s easy today with computers. Get a stock picture, mock up a cover and print it out. For our example, let’s say the title “The Philly Girl by Victoria Mascherino” over a livid sunset shot of the Hollywood sign.
Then prop that that mock cover up next to your computer. And imagine. Imagine that feeling of what it would be like to see that cover with your name on it in a bookstore. It’ll pep you up.
DON’T TURN INTO A MASOCHIST
- YOU’RE NOT SUPER-WRITER
Don’t beat yourself up too much. You’re not a reporter obliged to churn out words you either don’t feel inclined to, or haven’t got the stamina for. And you’re – not yet – a professional writer; it’s not the end of the world if you miss a day or even a week. The self-loathing only increases the block – as I know from experience. So one day if you genuinely utterly don’t feel like writing – don’t.
- TAKE A BREAK
You won’t die from it and neither will the book. Maybe make some notes or even think. Thinking is under-rated. Lie on the couch, close your eyes, think of the novel, and imagine it…let scenes gestate in your mind. When you open your eyes again if you think any of that is useful, make a note of it. Then when you go back to the screen or notepad, you might possibly feel refreshed AND have some new ideas.
- START YOUR BOOK
But above all – start. Chinese philosopher Lao Tse said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” It’s true. Take that first step. Then more steps. And the more steps you take the nearer you will be to your destination, which is the finished novel.
WHY I STARTED WRITING…AND HOW I KEPT AT IT
My motivation to write a novel came when I was a reporter at twenty-five. All the usual boozy journalists in the bars and pubs around the newspaper offices in Fleet Street where I worked, all boasted about the day they’d write their ‘award-winning’ novel. They always said award-winning, for some reason. The truth was they preferred to drink than to write (after all, they were writing all day).
But I wondered if I could actually write a novel – any novel. Could I actually sit down and hammer out seventy or seventy-five thousand words? So I started, on my old massive Remington typewriter. It was a crime novel set in London where it turns out the reporter is psychotic and actually reporting on his own crimes. (And in case you’re wondering, no I wasn’t actually murdering people – it was fiction remember?)
The important thing is I typed out 75,000 words. In short I ACTUALLY WROTE A NOVEL… I proved to myself I could go the distance. I sent it to a literary agent who said I had “promise,” but he didn’t want to represent me. The novel was never published, but three years later I had written two more novels and the second of those got me an agent and it WAS published.
The breakthrough for me was DOING it. I don’t know what impetus you need, but find one. Somehow set off that trigger that says, “If not now – when?” And another thing, if you decide, truly, that you can’t do it, or don’t truly wish to do it, then don’t. Don’t be ashamed. There are plenty more other useful things you can be doing with your time. Writers are not gods, so if you do genuinely feel you aren’t up to it, admit it to yourself. But not without seriously trying it first.
THEN WORK – AND BELIEVE
You are going to give it a try. OK. Now park your ass on a seat and do it. You can if you try. And good or bad when you’ve done it you’ll know at least you can write a novel. And after that you’ll do more and better.
And when you see that book on the bookstore shelves, when you hold that first mint copy in your hands it will be a dream come true.
THE SMALL PRINT
Just a note here: I’ve tried to use American spelling throughout, but although I’ve been going to America since 1971, have visited 42 of the states, and have lived for over ten years in Los Angeles, I am English and now spend my time between homes in London and France.
So if I’ve lapsed into English spelling or idiom, I’m sorry and I hope it doesn’t’ distract from what I’ve written.
I hope some of my advice, tips and shared experiences help you. Good luck.
STUART WHITE’S PUBLICATIONS
Stuart White is the author of the novels Death Game; Operation Raven; The Shamrock Boy; Kiss of the Angel; Til the Fat Lady Sings and The Valhalla Secret. His non-fiction books include, “Zeebrugge a Hero’s Story,” with Stephen Homewood, and “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide,” with Cynthia Lewis Foreman.
He also co-authored the novels, “The Lady and the Champ,” and “Rags to Riches,” with the late Pat Booth.
His Pocket Novels published in America include, “A GI called Joe.” And “The Visitor.” He has a 70,000 word long compendium of short stories entitled, “We’ll Always Have Paris,” for sale on Amazon Kindle.
His optioned screenplays include, To the Very Gates; To Kill a King; Black Jacques and Crossmaglen. He has also written on commission, “Death at Sea,” and “Art of the Warrior.” He is currently writing the supernatural cop TV series, Pendragon.
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