Writing Tip 3: Practice Your Craft Daily

BY MIKE JOHNSON

Quit fiddling around on Facebook, or worrying about the bills, and get to work. You’ve heard of Sunday painters, the dabblers, but you don’t hear too much about Sunday writers, because they don’t last.


The one thing that writing requires is continuity. Some writers binge write, and that can work. Philip K Dick could write a novel in two or three weeks – with enough amphetamine. Dashiell Hammett wrote The Thin Man, his last novel, in 30 hours of continuous writing. Jack Keroac would sit at his mother’s kitchen table with a bottle of whisky and keep writing until the book was finished. Other writers, the non-binge types, can keep up a steady nine to five routine day after day, regular as a bank clerk. Reputedly, Peter Carey is one such. Writing is a job and you just get up and do it like any other job. Enid Blyton could turn out up to ten thousand words a day by treating writing as a job.


Most of us fall between these two extremes. The trap, if you like, is to proceed in fits and starts. Coming in hot and strong for a couple of days then doing nothing for a couple of weeks. Pretty much useless, as the trail can go, and grow, cold without regular attention. Works neglected are most likely to be abandoned, or fail to lift off. The longer you leave it the harder it is to get back into it.
If you are going to write, you have to give it a fair go. Writing is time consuming. A lot of writing time is spent in dreamtime. If I don’t have time to write on any particular day, I will make sure I read over what I last wrote, change a comma or two, remind myself of where I am and why I’m there. It might only be for ten minutes, but I’ve kept the channel open.
Practice your craft daily and watch your writing grow.