What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Forget Robert McKee’s Story. Ignore Stephen King’s On Writing. There’s just one secret to becoming a professional writer, and making it your career.
1: Build your staying power
If you find it hard to focus and stay on task, simply place a cat on your lap and let it go to sleep.
You are never allowed to move again. Or pee. Good luck.
2: Sharpen your concentration
Write extensive vital story notes, then wait. Can you remember what you wrote?
THIS CHALLENGE ADDS FUN.
3: Be open to collaboration
Buy a pen. It’s the cat’s now. Maybe he will write your book.
4: Maximise your non-writing time
Cats are self-cleaning, thanks to their delightful brillo tongues. Save wasteful shower time by eating a packet of crisps and allowing the nearest cat to lick you clean.
5: Stay motivated
Planning a weekend lie in instead of getting up early to write? Oh no you’re not.
Thanks for the motivation, cat!
6: Stay accountable
Is someone watching you, author-on-Twitter-instead-of-writing?
You’re being watched, and you’re being judged.
7: Secure your cliffhangers
Struggling to find that smart new plot idea to keep the pace up?
Invite a small danger beast into your home. Then simply sit back and observe.
8: Grow a thick skin
Prepare for the inevitable rejection letters. Approach your cat with hopeful open arms, only to be put firmly in your place.
9: Feel inspired
You could write a book about a cat! A big cat! You can’t leave the house because of the cat so you will stay here forever writing about the powerful cat! He’s eaten all the food! He’s drunk all the water out of the tap! He’s a tiger! He’s come for tea! Maybe you shouldn’t write this book.
10: Ok, seriously: cats are great.
Being a writer will be hard (sorry). Sometimes it will make you miserable.
But a cat is a purry friend who doesn’t care if you’ve finished your word count, done your edits, been rejected by agent #23, or have no idea what happens in chapter 5.
They care if you’ve fed them, and you can definitely do that.
With thanks to Pan and Ludo, who received many Dreamies for their services to the writing community. If you’d like to know what I wrote with their assistance, here’s my new book: Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It.