Writers have to write (sounds silly but surprisingly, I think sometimes people think they will be smitten with inspiration and the writing will simply pour onto the page – a perfect copy. However, it doesn’t happen like that … in the words of someone famous “writing is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration!
Writers also have to read copiously and regularly and, well once you’ve done your reading (which now often includes blogs and social media) much of the writing time has been gobbled up.
So it’s about self discipline – you need to set aside a window of time to write each day and keep to that – even if it’s only for 10 -15 minutes a day.
Perth Writers Festival 2014
I wrote those words a year ago and now, after being immersed in the literary smorgasbord at the 2014 Perth Writers Festival, that message hasn’t changed. Memoirist, Bruce Russell, ran a workshop “Curing Writer’s block.” You think that didn’t get aspiring writers excited!
After general introductions and some music to help to get writers in the zone, Bruce starts off with “Write a scene about …”
“But, just a minute,” says one of the students, “We’re here because of writer’s block and you ask us to write a scene. What’s that about?” and proceeds to write two pages on his annoyance of not knowing what to write? And there before our very eyes was the birth of a brand new character.
The Memory Board
Memoirists Steve Bisely (Stillways), Sarah Turnbill (Almost French) and Anchee Min (The cooked seed) discussed memory and writing memoir with award winning writer Bruce Russell.
When writing a memoir you are calling up your version of events what to put in, what to leave out and with more polishing and editing the more real it becomes.
Steve Bisely’s memoir, titled Stillways will have you recalling your own school days as he vividly describes his life growing up in rural Australia back in the 50s and 60s. I love the way he describes things just as they were. For older folk who remember those times, they will recall vivid memories, while younger people reading the book will go ‘Wow ‘ – that’s amazing that life was so different, so primitive compared to today’s technically charged world.
Not absolute beginners
D.W. (Dave) Wilson. Tracey Farr and Jordi Punti spoke to Bruce Russell about their debut novels and their writing journey.
Detail is important write every day about what you see, hear and feel
Dave Wilson said he wrote one sentence after another, listened to the voices and ended up with around sixty thousand words.
Voila! There it is again – keep writing.
Is a short story harder to write than a novel?
This was a question posed to the panel and while we often hear that a short story is more difficult to write than a novel, these writers didn’t think so. Wilson said a novel is structurally more technical than a short story – it’s like building a cupboard or a house – which is harder?
Punti expressed the pleasure and pain of writing a novel as times ten compared to writing a short story. A short story might take three weeks to write while a novel may take six years. Writing a short story is like running a hundred meters, while a novel is like running a marathon
Write what comes
The human experience is totally unique for every single person and expressing feelings and reactions is what people want to read.
When I’m not sure what will happen next in my novel in progress, I write a letter to my protagonist and ask him where he is and what he thinks. He does write back and I usually find out something new about where he is and what he’s doing. Once again – mission accomplished – I am writing!
You often hear writers say that after a while the characters start to steer the novel and secondary character will start tapping you on the shoulder to give them some more to do. For this to occur you have to be writing.
So and what else can I say but I’m off to write another page and my message to all writers is keep writing.