The Cornerstone

Years ago, I got a little book for Christmas, a book filled with simple insights about writing.  My Mom caught an interview on the local news and found out where she could get a signed copy for me, since she thought it was something I might find useful.

And did I.

The Writer’s Little Instruction Book: 385 Secrets for Writing Well & Getting Published by Paul Raymond Martin is a fine book of anecdotes, full of playful bits of wisdom.

One of the most formative bits comes from page 6:

Begin each day’s writing

with whatever you most want to write about.

It wasn’t an intentional motivator, but this is what led to me writing out of order, one of the things I do to force myself to keep writing.  JRR Tolkien might have been able to start every draft of The Lord of the Rings with “Concerning Hobbits,” but that would drive me mad.  I always start with what interests me most, be it what I’m writing on a particular day or what I’m writing on a particular project.

Another thing I’ve had to do, especially when writing is hard, is to find a way to reinforce my commitment to being a writing.  Some days, it’s easy to keep going.  Other days, it’s a battle to keep going.  But there’s another truth that I take from the Little Instruction Book:

You cannot decide once-and-for-all to be a writer.

You must renew your commitment to writing every day.

It’s not easy, but it’s true.

One final tidbit to share.  This one talks in plain terms about the value of continuing to work on any and all writing.

In writing

(as in most endeavors)

sweat rules over inspiration.

So keep trying, keep working.  It’ll pay off.

The funny thing about this little cornerstone of my writing, everything I just shared comes from the first section.  There are more pieces of wisdom, covering a number of subjects.  Maybe I’ll discuss them at some point in the future.  For now, I’ll simply part with a question:

What do you call on when you need advice on writing–or any creative endeavor?


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