Born at an early age, Dan Metcalf knew exactly what he was going to be when he grew up – tall. This was achieved before he even got to secondary school and so another career was decided on. The life of a chocolate teapot salesman is however fairly temperamental and so he decided to move to a job which was comparatively reliable – a writer.
He has written for radio, screen and magazines but is best known as the author of ‘The Lottie Lipton Adventures’ (although he is best known around where he lives as ‘That Weirdy Beardy Guy’). He is a full time writer and his biggest ambition is write a major children’s adventure series and create a superhero comic.
Ten Stupid Things Writing Books Has Taught Me About Myself
Guest Post by Dan Metcalf
Writing, I’m sure it has been pointed out, is a lonely business. When I made the switch to writing full time I was ready for the work, but as I had lounged about in libraries and offices for most of my working life, I had no idea how isolated it would be.
I also was not prepared for the self-motivation working for one’s self requires. Many writers discuss the Carrot vs Stick methods of motivation. For a while I tried the ‘carrot’ approach; promising myself a treat if I got to the end of a project on time. It soon became clear however that the promise of a curly-wurly at the end of the day wouldn’t cut it for me, so I employed the ‘stick’ approach and resorted to self-administered beatings if I didn’t hit my wordcount for the day. It seemed to produce results.
My most recent books are out this July so I thought I’d share with you the most crucial lessons about writing I have encountered
(DISCLAIMER: these may only apply to me, and me alone)
- Editing a book after the first draft is a useful and productive activity. Editing a sentence two minutes after writing it will lead to over-analysis, possible insanity and the deletion of all verbs, nouns and adjectives due to an over zealous part of my brain going postal on the text.
- A jacket potato with cheese and beans for lunch does not make for a productive afternoon of writing. (Carb + Fat = SNOOOOORE)
- I must be careful what I read when I’m writing a book or all my characters will start to sound the same. I read lots of comic books when I was writing the current novels and Lottie Lipton very nearly started to sound like Scott Pilgrim and Spiderman.
- Buzzfeed, Facebook and Twitter are NOT my friends…
- I must look out of the window at least once an hour to remind myself that there is a world outside of my laptop and that not everything can be manipulated with the click of a mouse.
- Whilst writing a book it is important that I stay hydrated. It is also important however that I make the switch to decaf or I will still be up at 1AM shouting ‘I AM A GOLDEN GOD AND I CAN PUNCH A HOLE THROUGH THE BELLY OF TIME WITH MY FIST OF TRUTH!’.
- I must talk to at least one person every day or I will go crazy. (Sidenote: facebook messenger, email and twitter do not count as ‘talking’) (Further Sidenote: Cats, TV, radio and houseplants do not count as ‘people’)
- I must ban myself from making excuses not to write. Excuses such as ‘Well, this lawn won’t mow itself,’ and ‘I really should have re-tiled this roof ages ago’.
- Checking email twice a day is enough. Checking it once an hour is excessive. Checking it twice in five minutes is lunacy.
- However many times I write a book, I will always start the next project with a panic attack and the constant voice in my head screaming ‘But you don’t know how to do this! You can’t write a postcard, let alone a book. You’re an imposter. They’ll find out, y’know, then you’ll have to go to author jail…’. Given time, this voice will quieten. (If it doesn’t, get the other voices in your head to gang up on it and give it a good kicking…)
The Catacombs of Chaos A Lottie Lipton Adventure
Lottie has lived in the British Museum all her life – she thought she knew it like the back of her hand! But when she finds herself locked in a secret tunnel deep beneath the museum she starts to worry that she might never escape.
Can Lottie, Uncle Bert and Reg solve the puzzles to find their way out of the maze of passageways?
Perfect for developing and newly confident readers, Lottie Lipton Adventures are packed with action, excitement and puzzles for the reader to solve.
The Eagle of Rome A Lottie Lipton Adventure
Welcome to the British Museum, home to Lottie Lipton: nine-year-old investigator extraordinaire!
When a collection of Roman treasures comes to the museum, Lottie, Uncle Bert and Reg discover the legendary code of the Ninth Legion’s Golden Eagle.
Can Lottie and her friends break the code and find the treasure before a ruthless treasure hunter gets his hands on it?
Perfect for developing and newly confident readers, Lottie Lipton Adventures are packed with action, adventure and puzzles for the reader to solve.