August 2018: Writing Advice
~ Meg West ~
QUESTION: What is the one piece of writing advice that has stuck with you and why? (Something other than ‘write what you know.’)
Meg West said:
“Write every day.”
I clearly remember the autumn afternoon my first creative writing teacher gave us this advice. “Okay,” he added, “now I’ve told you everything I know about how to make it as an author.”
I was astounded. For this, I was paying college tuition? I had come to study with know-it-alls, not know-it-nothings!
I wasn’t the only dissatisfied customer in class. Other students immediately pushed back. What about the muse? they asked the teacher. What about inspiration?
“Go home and write for an hour a day for the next week,” our teacher told us, “and see what happens.”
So I did. I soon found that the hour stretched into an hour and a half. Then two. By the end of the week I was getting so lost in my work I forgot to look at the clock. In fact, I almost missed the next class and had to scurry across campus–kicking up a storm of fallen leaves–as I hurried to make it in time for the opening discussion.
“Okay, for those of you who took the challenge: what happened?” the teacher asked.
Several hands shot up.
“I really got into the groove of it,” a boy said.
“I stopped thinking about whether or not what I was writing was any good,” a girl volunteered, “and just focused on putting words on the page.”
More answers came fast and thick:
“I started looking forward to writing instead of dreading it.”
“It was easier to see where the story was going.”
“I finished a first draft of my story!”
“I felt like I got to know my characters better.”
Our teacher smiled. “Okay. Now we can start to talk about point of view and description, and all the rest of that good stuff.”
I am forever indebted to this man who told me to make writing a habit–a good habit, like straightening the bedcovers every morning and washing the dishes after dinner each night. Who needs the muse? On the days my writing doesn’t go well, I know there’s always tomorrow.
Love on Longboat Key, Keys to His Heart, Book 1
Over Christmas break, a sweet but shy copywriter must fight off her aggressive boss to win the heart of the CEO’s son.
Love on Longboat Key is a sweet holiday tale about finding romance on the beach.
Available in Ebook: