Monday, March 8, 2010

Work Ethic

I thought I'd continue on this "I'm writing about writing" thing, and talk about Work Ethic. Now, this isn't a lecture on Ethics and Morality, so you can relax. What I speak of is getting yourself to work.

Like many people who join Facebook, I became slightly addicted to the games there, like Farmville, Petville, Fishville and Cafe World, as well a number of other games online, like Elements on Now, there's nothing wrong with these games, except when you let them control your life. I decided yesterday, since I hadn't been on my laptop much on Saturday, to give up the Facebook games. So what if my cute blue dog thing goes to the pound? So what if the fish die and the crops wither and the food goes rotten? It's all virtual!

And today, literally as I was getting ready to write this blog, I decided, "To hell with Elements!" And so, I'm writing to you earlier than I would have. Importantly, I'm writing, not playing an online game. See, this is the point where my work ethic failed. Sure, I promised myself that I'd write something every day of Lent, but I often put it off because of games. Well, I say to you that you can do the same thing as I just did and put the writing first.

Prioritising is important in life, I know. I'm the first to admit that I'll choose to go the cinema than write something, because I know that I can write around the cinema time, but I can't see my friends whenever I want. (We're in different colleges, so going to the cinema is the best contact I get with them). The decision is easy when they're taken into consideration. You see, it's important that writers young and... not so young... don't forget about their lives outside of the writing too. It's a lonely world out there, and locking ourselves up is only useful when we're struggling to get some peace. If you have a reasonable number of invites to events and enough time to write even when you go, go to the events.

When you do sit down to write, however, you better make sure you write something. Close off Twitter if you have to. I know, it's a heresy that we eliminate virtual conversation as well as our families, but it must be done. However, you can always take short breaks every few hundred words! I recommend to get some work done while giving yourself some breaks. Plan your writing session for ten or fifteen minutes, 400 or 600 words respectively, and when you've done your writing, save it, take your wee break, max 10 minutes, and get back into another session of similar size. Twitter will still be there for you after that little burst too.

I encourage that you use your time wisely. Find ten minutes every day to write, at the very least. I tend to spend longer writing my blog than that, but my family generally leave me to it when they see me typing away. They understand that I like to write at this hour, and they don't understand an awful lot about me sometimes (like where I get all my ideas... to quote my mum, "I don't know where you get it from." << see!) So find your writing time and write. No excuses. You can't say you have writers block, because I've shown you your Tools of the Trade already. If you missed that post, go back one day - you can't miss it. 1400 words of me telling you that you can write because you have lots to write about!

If that post still isn't helping you with your novel, take a break from the novel and write something else. Write a short story if you can, or keep a blog to make sure you're always thinking about what words to write. I find this keeps my writing brain going throughout the twenty-four hour period of when I finish and press Publish.

And don't forget - if you're going to write, you have to read. If you write short stories, read them too. If it's novels you're in to, there are more than enough of them at your local library or bookshop for you to keep your self amused - just remember to write too! Screenplays and theatre works are always available too - bookshops, libraries and the Internet will supply they for you. The BBC even posts them online for you! Poetry is even easier to come across - a lot of poetry is posted online, under the Creative Commons Licence. As a writer, we more or less have an infinite stream of words to read to suit our craft. Don't waste it, and don't save it thinking it will run out. It won't. There are always writers looking to get published.

And with that, I bid you adieu once more, writer. Keep working, and good luck. If I can think of more to write about from my own experiences, you'll know with more blogs. Toodle pip for now.


Lisa S said...

No, Paul, you can't let Mr. Muggles go to the pound!!!

Paul Carroll said...

Too late! He's gone to the pound, and all my fish will be dead. My cafe will have lost all of its business and any food cooking has gone to mush. I WIN!