Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WRITING IS LIKE DIETING


Doubt me? Let’s look at six pieces of advice for writers and dieters.

1. Set realistic priorities. You are more apt to attain small achievable goals (such as losing a pound a week or writing ten pages per week) than larger goals with artificial deadlines (for example losing fifty pounds before your class reunion or writing a three hundred page novel by Christmas).

2. Don’t procrastinate. Start working on your goals today, by skipping dessert at supper and writing at least one page for your next novel tonight.

3. Control problems and distractions. For writers, the distractions on the Internet are comparable to high fat, sugary foods to dieters. Perhaps this advice to Linda Almquist in the first chapter of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight will help you sort through your clutter.

“There are three types of problems. A few problems are like wine; those situations improve if you delay decisions and let them age. Most problems are like waste paper. You can ignore them because they don’t matter. Unfortunately like waste paper, they tend to be messy when they pile up. And some problems are like manure. You must identify them quickly before they stink.”

4. Work at it every day. Most successful dieters have changed their lifestyle and eaten less and exercised more for months. If you want to write a novel a year, set aside time to “work on your book” every day.

5. Sweat the small stuff. Little bedtime snacks can undo our good behavior at meals or in the gym. Similarly grammar and spelling errors can ruin a novel with a great plot and characters.

6. Laugh at all those who give advice like this because you know it’s easier to give advice than follow it.