Take Your Own Advice
July 29, 2010
Can you recall a recent conversation with writer friends when you gave them some terrific advice that they thanked you for?
Maybe you reminded them that they should focus on the process, not the product.
Maybe you suggested that they just get to the desk and see what happens.
Maybe you told them that writing is work, and that they owe it to their talent to give themselves time to work.
Maybe you buoyed their spirits when an agent or an editor rejected their work by telling them stories about how often famous writers submitted their first work.
Maybe you told them that good work takes a long time.
Maybe you suggested that they write that scene that scared them because it wouldn’t get any easier with time; maybe, after you told them, they called you and said that they wrote a draft, and though there was way more work to do, it was easier than they imagined like most hard scenes.
Maybe you indicated what you know about the end of a project — that the tendency to hang on to it is huge, and that, when we’re almost finished, we start hating the work, or think it’s boring (it is, to us, because we’ve been writing it for ages, but it won’t be to other people), or think it’s awful, and you gently remind them that it might be time to let go.
But I’m sure the last time you spoke to a writer friend you said something helpful; I’m sure what you said helped; I’m sure the writer thanked you.
So…Write down what that was. And tell it to yourself. Take your own advice. We don’t, all that often, and that’s a shame. But if we remember how we helped a writer friend, we can, perhaps, listen to what we said, and take our own advice.
Try it. And see what happens.