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  • L.M.Thornburg

Small Talk

Sometimes, I find myself wondering if I'm really qualified to give writing advice. Truthfully even if I'd written 100 books, I'm not sure if I would feel qualified. That's why I decided maybe it doesn't matter. I've been writing for years and writing has become something that I need to do or my day doesn't feel satisfactory. I don't want to call it a habit because that sounds boring. There are still times when I feel like I'm doing magic when I'm writing.

I've also read a ton of books about writing., from books about plot structure to books about writing motivation. I enjoy reading about writing and if you have something you want to be good at, it doesn't hurt to keep learning. So that brings me to what I hope will be a series of things I've learned over the years about writing. I'm titling it Small Talk because you can take it or leave it. It won't be earth-shattering, unless it's the perfect advice for you.

In almost every book on writing there will be a section or even just a sentence that says, "Just begin." Like it's that easy. Just start writing and it will all take off from there. This can sound completely trite, but it is also so true. Especially for some people (Me!).

If I could get a job coming up with character studies and plot outlines for other writers to use, I would. I'm good at that part and I enjoy it. I love the planning part of book-writing. For me, it's the fun part. The hard part is when I have to sit at my laptop and start writing words down.

Just in the last few years though, I've found something that really helps. If you have trouble forcing yourself to sit down and write, then start very slowly. Start with five or ten minutes. Do this a few times a day. Slowly work up to longer stretches.

I think of the writing part of my brain as my physical body. I can't go out and run a marathon without some training. I have to work up to it. And for me, this is always the case. In the same way that I have to start back up slowly if I've taken time off from working out, I have to do the same thing with my writing.

After taking a few months off this summer to move across the country, when I started writing again I had to go back to just writing for ten minutes at a time. The good news is that after a few weeks, I'm back to writing for a couple of hours a day. I don't think I'll ever be one of those writers that can write 50 pages a day, but maybe I'll work myself up to 10.

Happy Writing!


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