As I wrote this, the World Cup was about to start in Brazil. At the same time I had been participating in a creative writing course which urged, like all such it seems to me, that one should practice writing as much as possible or at least during the time one isn’t reading avidly. Writing reviews of other authors work, developing characters, describing settings with interesting detail all being advocated.
This reminds me of the football training ground (or the equivalent facility for any sport); every professional knows you can train and train as much as you like but until you get on that competitive pitch you aren’t going to get match fit.
In writing you must get stuck in to that novel, short story or poem to become match fit. Too much ‘training’ of the above type doesn’t help you become match fit for writing—the only thing that does, is the actual writing of that actual piece of creation you have been cooking up for some while. As Michael Frayn once remarked on BBC Radio 4. ‘Just do it!’
It doesn’t matter that you write a trashy chapter in the middle of purple prose; unlike a footballer you can always go back and edit this below par period of play, so ‘Just do it!’
While I was editing my first novel I started writing my second novel, I think this kept me match fit and I intend to repeat the exercise when the time is right.
Adding this at the end of February I note that having had a struggle to keep writing during the dull grey days of winter I’m not match fit and finding it hard to get revved back up.