See if you can spot the cliché. He's struggling at his desk, sucking down a cigarette and a large coffee, scratching at his whiskers, and suffering the tyranny of another blank page. Didn't take long, right? He's the archetype of a struggling writer.
Whether it's a typewriter or a laptop, cigarettes or a smoothie, 'he' or 'she,' the struggle remains the same. At some point most writers will face this struggle, the furious and paralyzing reality of squeezing perfect ideas into imperfect words.
We at Signature feel your pain, so we've spent the past few months asking forty-plus authors to share their hard-earned writing advice to remind you you're not alone. For the month of January, in the spirit of new beginnings, Signature will be spending each day celebrating the craft of writing by giving you all the basics to get started.
Spanning genres, backgrounds, and styles, these authors have given us a goldmine of good habits and encouraging words. From writing rituals, to secrets in overcoming writer's block, to tricks in engineering the perfect opening paragraph; if one piece doesn't inspire you to start writing, another will. In the words of one author, echoing the famed advice of another: first things first, if you want to write, start with your ass in the chair.
Are you there yet? Good. Now, sometime this month, if the spirit moves you, start applying Signature's Write Start tips. Pick a piece of writerly advice at random and give it a whirl. Paste Magazine is hosting a writing contest alongside Signature's Write Start series, calling on writers (ahem, you) to pen the opening lines of a story, any story, in seventy-five words or less. All you need to do is cite which piece inspired you to write, submit your entry, and voila -- you're in the running for an iPad mini and a bundle of good books. (More importantly, you've got the seeds of a good story.)
So join Signature and dozens of Write Start authors as we go behind the books and learn how to prepare ourselves when the blank page beckons.
Jan. 11: Write a Shitty Draft, by L.Y. Marlow
Jan. 12: Jennifer Clement on Developing Voice
Jan. 16: What Makes a Writer? by Charles Todd
Jan. 17: Do the Opposite, Says Brock Clarke
Jan. 27: Write Then Edit, by Michelle Tea