The title should really be ‘How Not to Write’, but going to stick to my how to theme. As I mentioned before I am writing a children’s book. It started with a request from A that spiraled into the whole life consuming project. For a while when I was unemployed and had no freelance work all I would do was spend the day writing. Actually I would spend the week writing. My entire social life centered around Sunday mornings in the coffee shop with our friends. So other than A and my husband I was not talking to anyone……for months.
But then spring sprung, and I started spending a little more time with people. I got brave I even went on a trip with a friend. I got a job, the farm was resurrected, and I started going out a little more. I still try to put in my time editing, rewriting, and writing, but it is tempered with a social life. I’m even taking an online class on editing.
One of the assignments was to look at your work from a distance. So I pulled out the first chapter of my book and lay it out on the floor, all five pages of it. You know what I saw? There wasn’t a single line of dialogue on the first four pages. This. Is. A. Kid. Book. I can’t think of any nine year olds who really want to spend the first four pages of an adventure story that starts with a long philosophical discussion of swimming as well as the architectural history of the swim club and title 9, what the hell was I thinking? As I flipped through the rest of the book I saw a few other places where I would go on and on about details without either movement or conversation. Why? This is one of those things I already know. It took a few days to figure our where this was coming from (I bet you’ve already guessed it) it wasn’t until I looked back to where I was when I was writing that I realized that I was living so much in my head, even having conversations with friends was awkward and difficult.
So what is my how to write advice? Don’t isolate yourself too much. Be out in the world, not just as an observer, engage with the people around you make the effort to talk with people and see friends. You can’t write a conversation if you don’t feel comfortable having one.