Elephants never forget, apparently. Sometimes I wish I were as lucky. There are endless streams of tips and snippets of advice out there just waiting to swamp the aspiring writer. If only we could remember it all when we really need it.
Well here's the good news, wait for it, you don't need to! Your aim as a writer is simple. Just write. Just write a book you'd like to read yourself. Sounds so easy when you say it like that, doesn't it, but how do you begin?
Virgina Woolf once said, "So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say."
The first hurdle to overcome is fitting writing into your life. It can be tricky to find five minutes in today's hectic schedules, let alone longer. If you're serious about writing but struggle to find a moment or two, start by reviewing your week. Take an average week and look carefully at where you could shuffle things to save yourself time. Ultimately, if you want to write and you're serious about it, you'll find a window of time somewhere. In an ideal world, you'll find yourself a slice of time each week when you're at your best. Some people are at their best in the mornings, others in the evenings, some even in the twilight hours. Find your best time and do everything you can to clear your diary.
Writing becomes a habit. Find the time and keep going. Don't quit. Before too long you'll have written far more than you ever thought possible.
"The art of writing is all about the inspiration of the moment and the excitement of riding the wave of an idea." According to Elizabeth George (Write Away).
The trick is to keep going, even when inspiration seems to be reluctant to join you. It's a discipline, one to be adhered to if you want to succeed.
It's tempting to wait until inspiration finds you, as if by some magical spell, but instead, remember that real writers write. If you want to be a writer you need to make the ideals come to life, make them happen, create them, and make them yours.
So where will you get your ideas from? It has to be the most popular question asked. Well, look around yourself. Watch people, politely of course. Don't stare. If you watch people for a little while, you'll find yourself wondering what they're doing, where they're going next, why one of them is hobbling or the other has a torn sleeve. Don't look for too long, just enough to spark off your thoughts, then let them go, swiftly pick up your pen or laptop and start to fill in the gaps for yourself.
Family and friends will be happy to offer ideas. Keep them, all of them. You never know when you may use them. The news and the media can also spark off ideas for great plotlines. Keep up to date with the world. The next newspaper article you read could send you into a creative dream world.
So there you are, keep going and keep your eyes and ears open to suggestions. Most importantly, keep writing and don't give up. Oh yes, and one more thing, make sure you read a lot. It can only help!