What you should know before you publish
After writing my first book, I was surprised that people found my story interesting enough to read. It was MY story, not some celebrity's story. Just me. The euphoria was enormous and it fired me up to write my next and then another and to keep going. What I found was it's a lonely game. It was like living on an island and playing solitaire every day of your life. And I often feel like an armless, legless person with a crayon in my mouth.
What I've realised is we don't do this to get rich. No way. We do it because we LOVE it. We love taking something from the invisible and bring it to the visible. That's what writers do. We write and create pictures with words. And we keep writing with little or no pay. And who knows, one day someone may read your work and see the value in it and the rest will be history. Remember J.K. Rowling.
For me, writing is like having a dream while I'm awake. But these dreams are not that easy. Novels are forged with passion, demand fidelity and commitment. They drive you from boredom to rage and they sleep with you at night. And they demand discipline. It's a bitch, I know, but if you don't set yourself goals, years will slip by and all you'll have is 'I've got a great idea for a story'.
So my tip of the day is take notes when inspiration strikes. You've got to write it down or the universe will give it to someone else. Remember it's not only the command of words you have, it how you use them. This is where discipline comes in. Only amateurs say they write for amusement. Writing is not amusing. Writing is intoxicating, absorbing, exhilarating, heart-breaking, racking, challenging and euphoric. But never amusing. It's hard work and it demands discipline if we want to get our thoughts across. Don't tell me 'The moon is shining'. Show me 'the glint of moonlight on broken glass'. Step into a scene and let it drip from your fingers. Your story begins with a character standing on his feet, beginning to move. All we have to do is trot behind him with a pen and a piece of paper in our hands trying to keep up long enough to write down what he says and does. You see, writers see things differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch can be the fabric of our story.
And finally, one last word of advice. Finish it. The difference between being a writer and being a person with talent, is the discipline it takes to plant yourself in a chair day after day after day and finish. Don't talk about finishing. Do it.