I used to post here every time a new episode of Thrillercast went up, but I’ve been a bit slack on that front lately. For anyone late to the party, Thrillercast is a podcast hosted by myself and fellow Gryphonwood author, David Wood. It’s a podcast all about thrillers and genre fiction and we talk about the writing craft, publishing news, our own writing paths and general thriller and genre stuff. Basically we crap on for between thirty minutes to an hour every couple of weeks or so. But we can sometimes be quite interesting.
The latest ep is out there now. Me and Dave talk about flawed protagonists. After all, aren’t we all the flawed protagonist in our own life story? (Shit. I wish I’d thought of saying that during the actual podcast.) Following our chat there’s a recording from a recent con Dave attended, a panel discussion on the topic “Is Your Hero’s Flaw Non-Fatal?”
I’m not personally involved in this project, but I am a proud member of the CSFG, so I’m sharing this on their behalf.
Please support Paediatrics at the Canberra Hospital (PatCH) by sponsoring CSFG’s Write-a-Book-in-a-Day entry in 2013.
Last year, through the generosity of our sponsors, CSFG raised over $600 for PatCH.(You can find out more about last year’s escapade here.)
And now we’re doing it again!
The Write-a-Book-in-a-Day contest is a fundraising event for state children’s hospitals that runs from April to August each year. It began in Perth in 2003 and has since expanded across Australia. Teams of 5-10 writers are given 12 hours to collaboratively plan, write, illustrate, print and bind a children’s book (of around 8000 words in the Open category, less in the schools categories).
PatCH also came into being in 2003 to provide a clear and unifying identity for the paediatric health services at the Canberra Hospital. PatCH consists of several clinical areas; a 40 bed inpatient ward including a separate adolescent area, a Day Stay/Surgery unit, Outpatient Clinics and the Administration and Research areas.
CSFG will be writing our 2013 book in a day on Sunday, 4th August.
Check out that sweet tome in my grubby paw. It’s my contributor copy of the fantastic anthology, A Killer Among Demons, which features my story, The Beat of a Pale Wing. I’m really proud to be in this book. I read the e-version while I was away a couple of weeks ago and loved it. It’s a really outstanding effort by editor/publisher, Craig Bezant. It’s also an outstanding effort on his part to gift wrap the contributor copies. Very cool.
“If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day.” I bet you’ve read that before, right? I’ve seen it perpetuated so many times, and it really annoys me because it’s absolute bollocks. I bet it scares off many potential writers and that’s a real shame. I fucking hate the “rules of writing”. There are no rules. This is art, motherfucker. You don’t impose rules on art. There are many truisms, many universal truths. One of those, without question, is this: Writers write. That is the foremost truism among all writers. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. If you write, you are a writer. Do you have to write every day? Fuck no.
People have lives, jobs, families, responsibilities. If you want to be a writer, you have to make time for writing. You won’t find time for it. No one can find time, there aren’t lost minutes down the back of the couch or an hour or two growing on a time-tree in the Magical Forest of Creative cocking Genius (yeah, that’s a real place – you have to finish a book before you get the key to the magic gate). You make the time. But some people can only make time on the weekends. Or in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. They’re still writers, because they write. If all you do is make excuses, you’re not a writer. If you make time, however little or infrequently, you are a writer.
Here’s a comparison. I’m an international master of Choy Lee Fut kung fu. I run a martial arts academy – teaching kung fu is my other job. I’ve spent more than 30 years training and learning and getting myself to where I am now. The more I practice, the better I get. I encourage my students to practice every day. The really good ones do practice a lot. But they don’t practice every day, I bet. And neither do I. I can’t. Sometimes there’s just other stuff going on. Sometimes I need a break. Some days I just simply cannot be arsed. And that’s okay. Because I still practice a lot. I don’t suddenly stop being a martial artist on the days I don’t practice. A writer doesn’t stop being a writer on the days they don’t write. If they stop writing and don’t start again, that’s different. If they only write three times a week, once a week or once a month, they are still a writer. Sure, the more they write and the more often they write, the better they will be. Just like the more I train and practice, the better a martial artist I am, and my skills won’t lessen through lack of use. But I’m still a martial artist however much I practice. People are still writers however much they write. To get really good, they write a lot. If you really want it, that’s what you’ll do. But when you can’t write, when life is in the way, don’t sweat it. Just get back to it asap.
I’ve spent many years building a life that includes lots of writing time. I have two full days and one half day a week that are set aside only for writing. I teach a lot in the evenings, so those full days end when I have to go out and teach, but they’re writing days nonetheless. Sometimes on those days, I don’t write. I’m still a writer. I’m just a lazy writer that day, or a procrastinating one. Or I just need a fucking rest. On the “non-writing” days, sometimes I get an hour or two of writing in, sometimes I don’t. After all, I’ve got a business to run. I’ve often gone a week or two weeks without writing anything, and I’m someone with lots of dedicated writing time every week. I’m still a writer during those times.
So when you read these bullshit rules that say “You have to write every day”, scream at the top of your lungs, “Fuck that shit!” Unless you’re in a library or a kindergarten or something. Use your own discretion.
Screw the man, fuck the rules, be an artist.
Make time to write whenever you can, and write. Then you are a writer. If you just make excuses and “can’t find the time to write” you are not a writer, you’re an excuse maker. And that’s okay. Because if you really wanted to write, you would make the time, however little or infrequent that time might be.
Make time. Write. You are a writer.
EDIT: In response to this post, I got a few comments on social media. Two in particular make a very valid point. On Twitter, Andrew McCrae said:
“Terry Dowling has a good take on that: you don’t have to write every day but you have to be a writer every day, ie pay attention.”
And on Facebook, Traci Harding said:
“…writers have to have day dream days too, so even when you are doing other stuff the story can be unfolding in the back of your mind. And it doesn’t matter how long it is before you put it down, you’re still writing in your head.”
These are very important points, which is why I’m adding them here. It further enhances the assertion that even when you aren’t writing, you are still a writer. Always be a writer. Actually write as often as you can. Done.
I was going to blog about the awesomeness that is Pacific Rim. Seriously, guys – giant robots smashing the shit out of giant kaiju! What is there not to love about that? I wanted to talk about the amazing effects, the reason it works even though it’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. In fact, right after the movie, I tweeted:
My Pacific Rim review: Absolutely fucking ridiculous. Absolutely fucking tremendous. 5 Stars.
And really, that does say it all. But I wanted to blog about why. Thankfully, I don’t need to, because the excellent Peter Watts has done it for me. He says exactly what I thought about this film, so go and read his post here.
The joy of dumbness.
…in terms of sheer dumb popcorn-munching fun, no other movie I’ve seen in the past year comes close to Pacific Rim.