If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. – Hippocrates Exercise can easily be defined as something one has to do in order to improve oneself in a particular area. That sounds rather broad, so to put it into perspective, we do physical exercise in order to keep fit and healthy, we exercise proper hygiene in order to stay clean, we exercise discipline in order to keep our lives and our affairs in order. And, of course, if we…

So you’re done with writing your piece. What next? The answer may sound easy, but the path that you undertake to get to wherever you want to get definitely isn’t. There are a lot of options that you can choose from after finishing your piece (for the sake of this article, let us assume that it is your first draft). It is important that you should know what your options are, and where these may lead you. There is one very, very important step that you should go through, though, regardless of what you plan to do with your piece: Leave your work alone for a…

Criticism is a difficult thing to take, sometimes, especially if you’re particularly proud of the piece you’ve written. The basic thing to understand, though, is that not everyone will be pleased by what you’ve done, and often people will pick out one small detail they find negative in your piece and focus on that, eventually overshadowing and overriding any – and perhaps all – meritorious things that your piece has. It’s pretty difficult, as well, to criticize, especially if you know the effects of criticism or if you’re not entirely confident that your critique is value-adding. To be an effective…

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T.S. Eliot The word “risk” may evoke something terrifying, or give a feeling of repulsion. When you say something’s risky, or that undertaking a particular thing is a risk, you can get the impression that the negatives are heavy and substantial that they may possibly – probably – balance out, or even outweigh, the positives of a particular undertaking. “Too risky” would mean the odds are stacked against you, and therefore undertaking a particular activity may just be your downfall. Sometimes risks…

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. – Henry David Thoreau Making art, in general, is a solitary process, and we have established that several times in previous posts. It’s an experience as individual as eating – you are a self-contained unit as an artist, and while you are encouraged to show your work to others so that you can defend it and improve it, taking other people’s pieces of advice is not required. And this is probably one of the reasons why artists – in our context, writers – lock themselves up in their rooms…

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London The quote from Jack London seems terrifyingly aggressive, but rather fitting. Artists of all kinds – writers, musicians, and painters, to name a few – often owe much of their work to muses, or inspirations. And inspiration comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms, often elusive, often ephemeral, always hitting you in the head when it comes and drilling an idea that festers under your skin until you actually work on it. And the argument is that inspiration comes when it comes –…

Writers have the interesting – sometimes productive, sometimes just plain bad – habit of thinking of a lot of ideas that can be penned down and used for later. In other words, really, there are a million worlds running through a writer’s head, and they’re just dying to be written. It’s fun, of course, especially if you go through a rather productive brainstorming session when you’re looking for a new project to work on. It’s a blessing when you’re looking for those ideas. It’s a curse when you’re midway through a story idea and something else tries to grab your attention. While…

It’s pretty easy to get carried away when it comes to writing. A lot of authors agree that writing is a largely solitary act, one that hinges prominently on the writer and what the writer knows – or is trying to make up – and how the writer can deliver these pieces of knowledge. Of course, the idea of co-authorship or interpretation comes into play, when the reader steps in. But before that part of the process, the writer has to focus on actually writing. The tendency, then, is to keep the self isolated from all forms of distracting activity,…

British author Tim Lott wrote an article for website The Guardian, and the piece is his reaction to a poll that says that 60% of Britons want to be an author (you can find Lott’s article here). Now, no writer – whether published or unpublished – needs to be told that writing is not as fun as it seems. It’s the kind of thing that is both fun and arduous, by turns liberating, sometimes limiting, frustrating, and suffocating. Writers know this kind of feeling, being torn between wanting to write and wanting to throw the laptop out of the window and forever get…

It’s a question all writers come to, at a certain point in life. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re published, or from where you’re coming, or what your day job is or how positive the people around you are. At some point, a writer starts questioning himself or herself. Why do I write? What’s the point? Stories that seemed incredibly brilliant at the start begin dragging on the more you write. Characters start feeling two-dimensional, as if your writing does not give them any justice – or even a semblance of. Events go downhill, plot twists start feeling contrived,…