By Stephen Lord
Our regular volunteer, Stephen Lord, discusses his most valuable resources for writing.
The most important resource I have is my writing group. Writing is a wretched, solitary and miserable business even on good days, and I couldn’t be without a support network of like-minded souls. They are beta testers, fact checkers, idea bouncer-offers and good mates all at the same time. If you’re not in a group, join one. If you can’t find one that’s into your sort of writing, start your own. It worked for me.
The following are more survival tips than resources per se, but still worth a mention:
Music. I find Pink Floyd helps my concentration immensely, but tastes may vary depending on whether or not you’re a frustrated hippie. Play something, usually but not necessarily instrumental, that helps you find your way to the zone and stay there as long as possible.
Trust your instincts. Plot in detail with the logical left hemisphere of your brain, then use the intuitive right hemisphere to write the first thing that comes into your head based on what you’ve planned. NB: This hemisphere thing works the other way round if you’re left-handed. I learned that the hard way.
Most important of all, RELAX! You’re making stuff up and writing it down, not curing cancer. Treat your writing as sport, then you’ll have fun with it and that will show in the work. If you think of it as make or break or break/life or death, you will choke, freeze, panic and do nothing just so you can avoid making mistakes. I’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and done time on a therapist’s couch because of it. Trust me.
What resources for writing can you simply not live without? Are you part of a writing group? If yes, how has it helped?
Stephen Lord was born in Adelaide and has spent much of the ensuing time- after he learned he couldn’t play the guitar to save his life- reading, writing, daydreaming and making a nuisance of himself lurking around university English departments. He is hard at work on the first in a series of murder mysteries with supernatural undertones.