Over at Oxyjen, the very lovely Goblin asked us to post any lines from books that had inspired us. I interpreted this a little loosely, and offered my all-time favourite writing advice: 'if you don't know what to write, just write it'.
This was a piece of advice I was given when I first started out working in Public Relations. Oh, how I hated PR. Really, really hated it. The only part of the job I enjoyed was the writing part - news releases, letters, brochures - so it did get me started in that it showed me what I should really be doing (I moved on to become a copywriter). So while putting in the hours trying to presuade journalists to write articles about boring widgets and discussing lack of articles on said widgets with irate clients, while not mentioning the word boring and pretending it was all my fault nobody would write a story on boring widgets but my boss hadn't told them that their widgets were boring and nobody would write a story about them, because he wanted their money....where was I?
Back to the start. I worked with a very experienced PR consultant, who was fed up with writing. She was good at it, but she was fed up with it. So she sent it all over to my desk. I loved it. Flowery stuff here, flowery stuff there, make it all sound artsy and lovely and tremendously significant. One day she read a particularly florid piece of mine, looked over her glasses at me and said: 'you're fired'.
No she didn't. She said (you knew it all the time, didn't you?): 'if you don't know what to write, just write it.'
OK, so it's slightly enigmatic, but that's what I love about it. At the time she was telling me I was an idiot and I needed to call a spade a spade, not a gardening implement. I still have this phrase in my head at all times, but now in addition to trimming the blooms off my flowery language, I also use it as an incentive.
If you're stuck on something, just write it down. To me that can mean either 'skip this bit it's too hard, but e.g. write down a placeholder'get Martha to the lorry depot', and then move smoothly on with the bit that inspires you - worry about getting her to the depot later when you're feeling inspired about that. Or it can simply mean, whack whatever you can down on paper before the baby wakes up.
I can also interpret it to mean, stop procrastinating.
Or, don't worry about not having an idea about where this story is going, just write something down and the idea will come.
It all adds up to one thing, though. Just get out your pen and paper and write the damn thing down.
Real life update
You're not going to believe this. Princess had a damn good try and knocking out her new best friend's teeth on Friday night. She definitely needs a new name. Fangkiller? The Dental Recruitment Officer? Suggestions welcome!