Saw Walter Mosley’s keynote address at the Columbus State Community College Writers Conference this evening. I sat next to Gail, one of my all time favorite students, who I haven’t seen in a while and we listened to Mr. Mosley speak. He said that you simply must write every day, 7 days a week, 90 minutes a day. If you don’t feel like writing or nothing comes, sit there until it does. He writes three hours a day when he first gets up in the morning. This seems to be the most consistent habit of all successful writers: to write every single day of the week, preferably on a regular schedule, at the same time every day (usually first thing in the morning) at a time when you are at your best.
Gail told me afterwards that I should be proud that I am teaching the techniques that successful, best-selling authors use every day. That too much education can get in the way of telling a good story. (Fact: Homer was blind and illiterate.) That writing is done largely in the unconscious mind and all a writer has to do is transcribe what it tells you, but you need to be sitting there at the appointed time to hear what it has to say. That showing is almost always better than telling. That too many people get hung up on the things that they don’t know or don’t think that they know, such as grammar or spelling, or how to do some sort of technical thing correctly. It is almost always total bunk. Excuses for not getting your ass in the chair and getting back to work.
I forget to practice what I preach sometimes. Time for me to remember.