If you are like me and struggle at times to find the courage to write the tips and advice below from Natalie Goldberg should help you navigate the stormy waters.
1. You must decide in your heart that you are going to write, and write. Even if you write for ten minutes a day, you are still a writer.
2. You have to be willing to give it as long as it takes. So, commit yourself and don’t pay any attention to attention-grabbing headlines about 20 under 20 etc. This kind of comparison can only have a negative impact.
3. Let yourself burn, let yourself want something bad. It’s a life force. It is the same with your characters; they need to want something very badly to start taking actions and moving forward. Without that desire, your characters will fall flat.
4. Let passion burn all the way, heating every layer of the psyche, the conscious and the unconscious. Don’t let anything take it away. This is both for your passion for writing and your characters’ passion.
5. Writing is a visual art. Check that your writing has pictures. If your readers cannot see what you have written, you may want to rethink your story and your characters.
6. Be patient. You don’t always immediately find the right words, stories, and characters. Sometimes it takes time before it all comes to you making logical sense. Sometimes you have the right characters, but you aren’t able to find the right story for them.
7. Perfect moment doesn’t exist and waiting around with your writing for such sounds like a waste of creative life.
8. When you write, you tap the core of your wildness; you must be prepared to let that live inside you and not destroy it. Real-life matters as much as your imaginary life.
9. Writing is a great journey. However, you need to put in the time and the hours to develop your stories, characters, and, most importantly, your own writing style.
10. I feel that to be a writer one should be deeply rooted in the society. Otherwise, you live in a bubble of your own making, and all your characters aren’t real or diverse enough.
11. Words are the building blocks of writing. Be present with all of them and take responsibility for them.
12. Life isn’t abstract, it’s not good or bad. Your characters also shouldn’t be either. In every good character, there is something bad, and in every bad character, there is some goodness.
13. Anger is an emotion that demands motion, and that precludes change. The energy of anger can push your characters through difficult times or/and help them make impossible decisions.
14. Stress is a disconnection from the earth. So, don’t forget to breathe and take walks outside, especially when you feel you should.
15. Stress is an ignorant state. It makes you believe that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down, take a walk, watch a movie. Stress isn’t going to help you create strong empathic characters; it will drain you off ideas. I always find that meditation helps me keep stress at bay.
16. There are no shortcuts. If you want to be a writer, you need to write and commit to the journey. Once you’re committed, you will be able to find your own, unique way and your unique style of writing.