How to Write/Live/Whatever

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I thought I’d write an article on how to write because A) everyone seems to love stuff like that and B) it’s actually a contractual obligation that all writers do this at some point.

The problem with this, you see, is that I genuinely do not know how to write, I just do it. I sit down at my computer with a blank space on the page and a blank space in my head and then I start and somehow it works. I can – generally – retcon why I do stuff, there’s a lot of things ticking over in my subconscious and even, eventually, some form of logic at work, but I’ve never worked out how to access it consciously and besides, wouldn’t it be boring if I sat down and didn’t think, ‘oh my god, what if today is the day it doesn’t work?’ Narrative tension, you see, everyone should have some in their life.[1]

Soooo…I thought about what might be useful. Maybe something that helps someone who writes rather than actually telling them how to do it? Maybe? I don’t know, winging it here if I am honest.

But then I realised I know very many useful things, like, get a cat, listen to music if it helps but don’t if it doesn’t. Never buy a Lenovo computer as the last one you got was rubbish and was so slow as to be unusuable even though the keyboard was really nice. Grow your hair long and don’t get arthritis in your fingers and have a picture of a pangolin on your desktop because this is NEEDED.

But, do you see the problem with those tips? One or two of them might be quite specific to me and not of any use to anyone else at all[2]. This is true of ALL writing advice.

Then I remembered one useful thing that is not just useful in writing, it is useful full stop, it is useful throughout your life and in many different places. That useful thing is this:-

No one really knows what they are doing.

99% of people are just as confused and unsure of themselves as you are and a great many of the people reading this will already have figured that out. But maybe someone won’t, it definitely took me a lot longer to figure it out than it should have but that’s because I am stubborn and tend not to listen to people, often to my own detriment.

Now, there are people out there who may know more about stuff than you do, of course there are, and that’s cool. People who know a lot about stuff are excellent and often very helpful, people who are sure they are the only authority on stuff are often the exact opposite. In fact, I’d say, as a general rule of thumb, if you meet someone and they are absolutely sure they are the person who knows all the things RUN AWAY[3], cos people like that tend to be awful.

But that’s my writing/life tip, don’t be afraid of not knowing what you are doing. And don’t be overawed by people who seem to know exactly what they are doing. Being confused and a bit lost is part of the human condition, embrace it and toddle on forwards despite it. You’ll be alright.

  1. But not too much.
  2. Apart from the pangolin one, obviously.
  3. If you are the person considering typing ‘but doctors.’ DON’T DO IT. Doctors, above all should be constantly questioning the way they approach stuff.

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