on writing

Story 101 Ep. V: Your Very Important Person

Your personal doubt-killer is whoever you want it to be.

The critic inside all of us lives a cushy existence. She doesn’t create. She doesn’t contribute. She doesn’t have anything nice to say. We each have one, unless you’re so doped up on something–be it caffeine or alcohol–that she’s having a lie-down in the back. In which case she’ll probably be snotty about what you wrote later, particularly since she didn’t get to have a go at it the first time.

We all have one. Mine looks like a girl from my college years, and yours may look like your varsity soccer coach.

But perhaps the best part of writing creatively is that it reminds us that we have imaginations. And just as our brains are bent on inventing us some spiteful opinionated backseat driver, it can produce us a Most Valuable Player–our favorite, most prized, most gold-star-giving, A-for-awesome reader.

Real or imaginary, this person is your Audience. Write for him. If something doesn’t make sense, clarify so he understands. If you find yourself explaining too much, think from his perspective and see if you’re talking down to him. If you hate this scene, imagine what would grab his attention. If you think the dialogue sounds forced, picture how he would hear it, as if playing in the background on TV.

Charming critics is for the academics. Unless you love them. Then charm them to death.

As for me, I will not kill myself to avoid entertainment style noveling, the popular sort from which Rilke discouraged his young poet friend, i.e., at all costs remain in the mountains and let the organ by which you create–your life–atrophy into disuse; go on making art, the highest of its kind, since life is a support system for art, and art is for the smart kids; blah blah blah. On the contrary, one) it’s no fun being stuck-up and two) my Favorite Person would enjoy reading an entertaining high fantasy novel. So I will write them one.

Who is this for? Whoever you choose.

Get creating, doubt-crushers.

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on writing

tidbits for tuesday

In preparation for National Novel Writing Month, I’ve begun collecting writing inspiration. May I share mine with you?

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

~ Karim Seddiki

“…[here] is the way you are to feel when you are writing—happy, truthful and free, with that wonderful contented absorption of a child stringing beads in kindergarten. With complete self-trust. Because you are a human being, all you have to do is get out truthfully what is in you and it will be interesting, it will be good.”

~ Brenda Ueland, “If You Want to Write”

“…put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”

~ Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

“Ease in writing comes from flexibility and trust in yourself, which comes from learning to tolerate a certain amount of chaos.”

~ Karin Mack and Eric Skjei, “Overcoming Writing Blocks”

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.”

~ Frank Ocean

“If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what make a writer, nothing more and nothing less.”

~Anne Rice

Happy writing!

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