It always strikes me when somebody says that they have read my work, and liked X, Y, or Z. (Serious ego gratification!) But in all seriousness, despite it being a lovely addition to any day of the week, I’m sometimes asked questions. (E.g do you have any contacts, what’s your best advice?) Therefore, I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to this question, even though I do not count myself as a fully fledged writer. Just as a point of thought: Is there ever such a thing as a ‘Fully Fledged Writer’? It’s a very expendable definition.
When writing, there’s something fundamental at the very core: ideas. You can’t kill them. You can’t necessarily manipulate them. You can challenge them. You can elaborate on them. You can talk about them to whenever. You can’t always change somebody’s ideas. But you’ll need a lot of them. And I cannot emphasise this enough. (Oh, and networking-that always helps!)
If you wish to be a freelancer like me, or office-based (which is what I would ideally like to be!), ideas are critical, because you need to be constantly filing copy for publication. They come from all sort of sources: newspapers, archives, websites, books, social media, discussion, world events, your hobbies, history, current issues, etc. They are needed beyond belief. There isn’t really a time when they stop being needed.
So, as soon as you get any idea, write it down, even just jot it. Even still, have an ideas notebook, so you have one complete list of these. Then you won’t be stuck, usually, and can just flick back and forth to you come up with one. (I kept mine in my Filofax, or would just pitch it outright, after some refining.) This ‘little black book’ will become valuable beyond compare-so it is best to take it with you everywhere. Write in it, draw in it, doodle. Just keep the productivity and stream of thought going!
What is your best writing advice?