John van de Ruit: On Writing
1. Get rid of your romantic notions of what writing is. It’s like climbing a mountain; not sprinting.
2. Open your creative space. Work on unlocking what it is you have inside yourself. Work out what sort of story you’re trying to tell and the best way to tell it.
3. Be patient with yourself. You will not create a masterpiece without any hard work.
4. Let your characters possess you. Let them live inside you. You can liken this to method acting. How do they speak, move? What words would they use?
5. Keep your head down. Finish your first draft. Don’t go back and try to fix everything until you’ve done this.
6. Rewriting and editing are just as important as writing. The first draft is the rough outline of a sculpture. The next five or six or seven are the refining of that sculpture.
7. Wrestle with yourself. Challenge yourself constantly.
8. Writing is about making choices. You have a choice on every page. Every sentence counts. If in doubt, go with your gut.
9. Find your groove/rhythm/pattern and write according to that. Make sure you write a minimum number of words every day. 1000 words should be the least you do every day.
10. Use an outline. I make extensive notes and outlines before I begin writing. I also use a diary as an outline because the books are written in diary format.
P.S. Don’t forget to dream big because it can really happen.
John van de Ruit is South Africa’s most popular author. His series of Spud books have sold more than half a million copies in South Africa alone. The first and second books have been made into movies starring John Cleese. John is published by Penguin Books South Africa.