The best- the only- advice a writers needs. Keep writing. All other ideas, advice, changes, breakthroughs, innovations, edits- the whole enchilada, if you will- only happen when you take that first bit of advice.
Read others people's stuff. Write in a journal. Cut the first two lines and the last two lines of each scene. Make sure the character has a flaw. Keep the pace moving.
Just keep writing. Nothing else really matters.
Even when you don't want to.
Especially when you don't want to.
After you have gone through all your excuses, your other things that must be done- walking the dog, watering the plants, calling that friend you haven't spoken to in years, checking the scores, rearranging the refrigerator.
After you have read what you've got so far at least fifty times. After you've stared at the screen and gone into a sort of coma and snap out of it not sure where in the story you are, or if it is worth anything to anyone, ever in the history of time.
After you've asked friends, family, strangers, everyone in every social network you belong to and anyone else you can get a hold of to read it.
Tom Wolfe once wrote that in a copy of Hooking Up for me. "Kelly, Keep Writing, Tom."
Taft Miller, the Teiresias of Salinas, was one of the most amazing people I ever knew. He was an actor, a director, a friend, a mystic- a force of nature who had gone blind shortly after I knew him and was quite ill, but always full of energy and life. He directed me in East of Eden. When I wrote a bunch of screeds about whatever was on my mind and called them "Memos from the Underground" and placed them, anonymously, in people's mail slots at The Western Stage, Taft was the only person who immediately knew it was me. And he dug it, told me to keep it up and asked if I needed any help with printing copies.
I loved Taft.
When I got word he was dying, I called his hospital room. Joyce, his lover and another amazing person I was very lucky to have in my life, got on the phone. She was crying, and Taft couldn't really talk- but I heard him in the background ask her who was on the line. "Kelly", she said. And I heard Taft say "Keep Writing".
Last words he said to me in this world.
Keep keep keep writing.
Amen and hallelujah and amen again.
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