Writing advice #2 – practise patience

April 21st, 2019

My #2 tip for up and coming writers is practise patience. This is a hard one to take on board, particularly when you’re young. In your teens and twenties, it feels as if everything has to happen NOW, and that if it doesn’t, you’re a failure.

Snoopy sitting on his kennel with a typewriter.

But it’s not just teens and twenties. When I was working for the Australian Script Centre, a man came into the office with a play he’d written. He would have been in his fifties, and he desperately wanted us to read his manuscript.

‘This is my one big shot at it,’ he said. ‘If it’s no good, I’m giving up.’

Which pretty much told me all I needed to know about his chances of making a career in writing.

A writing career is a long-form thing. You have to find and develop your own individual voice, which you can only do by writing a LOT. You have to learn the craft. You have to work out what you want to write about. And when the fashions change on you, you have to be ready to change with them.

This need for patience weeds out a lot of people, particularly those who want to ‘be’ writers, but don’t want to put in all the work.

Which is fine. No one has to aim for a writing career.

But if it’s what you want, practise patience.

Tip #3 next week.

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