Monday, May 26, 2008

The toast thing is important.

Danny has tagged me with the question (originally asked by Kenny):

What revelations have you had since taking up your writing career?

So here, in no particular order, is my list of Reader's Digest-style Words of Wisdom.


Writers really like talking about writing, or writing about writing. This is because it puts off actually writing for another afternoon. Talking about writing, or writing about writing on a Friday morning before a bank holiday weekend is as good as it gets, writerly speaking.

You'll probably only get, at most, three hours of good writing done a day. That's a thousand words of prose, or five minutes worth of script. The rest of the day will consist of sighing, checking the internet, and eating toast.

You need to give up toast. And take up some kind of exercise at least three times a week, or you will become fat and mad.

The most useful skill it is possible for a writer to learn is level two touch typing. This gives you up to one extra hour a day for larking about, when other writers will be furiously trying to remember where the 'o' has got to.

When you start, you are not as good as you think you are. When you've been writing for a bit, you have to remind yourself you are probably not as bad as you fear you might be.

There is no point just trying to be better than the rubbish, you have to try and be better than the best writing you can imagine.

It is highly unlikely anyone has stolen your work and passed it off as their own. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

It is okay to turn stuff down.

The fact that you seem to be increasingly on the same page as various executives does not necessarily mean you are coming into your full powers, a la Batman. It simply means you are in your mid-thirties, and are the same age, or slightly older, than most executives, and thus share various cultural touchpoints. Soon. this phase will pass.

Just judging from the television industry, social mobility in this country is nowhere near as advanced as people would like to believe.

I have now tagged Patroclus with this question, because she is also a professional writer. She will answer IN HER OWN SWEET TIME.

UPDATE: She has answered.


Danny Stack said...

Excellent, thank you sir! Haven't kicked my toast habit yet. Carbohydrates, I'm told, are the enemy when you're sitting down all day... Not calories, not fat. Carbs.

Valerie said...

Ohhhhh... I knew there was a reason that I'm fat and mad. It's the toast. A vast, crumb-wing conspiracy.

Kenny aka Kevin Lehane said...

Nice answer.

thegirl said...

Toast is definitely the death of us. I'm currently going cold turkey on it and I'm having regular Marmite-related dreams. The horror, the horror.

james henry said...

I'm currently making do with toasted pitta bread. It's like toast methadone.

peckham2paris said...

You can also do your nails. Obviously not your finger nails because you need those to type and make toast, but you can give yourself a pedicure and then go to the kitchen and make toast while you are waiting for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.

Boz said...

I am not really a writer. Can I still like toast?

james henry said...

We will smuggle you in some.