From time to time, I pick up books (or magazines, or podcasts) on writing. Some of them have been very useful to me, and others have been laughable, or just told me things I already knew. (I’ll never forget reading How Not To Write a Novel, which was all three, and in a very good way.) I feel like it recharges my batteries, but mostly I just pick them up when I’m hoping there’s an easy fix for my motivational problems. (There’s not, by the way.)
They’ll tell you “show, don’t tell”. They’ll tell you how important outlines are, or how not to use a comma. They’ll tell you lots of details about how to be perfect, how to be flawless, how to do it right. For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they might give you a complex on how you have to do it flawlessly the first time, because that’s what all those books seem to say. And don’t get me wrong, these writing manuals can be very helpful. They can teach you a technique you might never have found on your own.
But what it all really, really boils down to is this: get off your ass, turn off the television or shut off the internet, and write. There is no other way to become a writer, to be published, to be able to look at people you don’t know and say, very excitedly, “I’m a writer.” Because whether you’re published, not published, thinking about being published, hoping to be published, or praying to whatever deity you believe in that no one ever finds and reads that notebook you filled with your daydreams, a person who doesn’t write can’t be a writer until they start to write.
I just wish I remembered this more often. AH, WELL. Off I go to write something!
So me it’s not even funny. :/ I actually had someone ask me a few days ago if I write “normal” characters. I believe the implication there was that I write psychos a lot.
This. So much this. Not to sound like a masochist or anything, but I really wish this would happen more often. I’ve only had it happen to one of my characters, although it has happened with him more than once. I guess it just makes me feel very attached? I feel like I know and am very close to my characters (psychopaths notwithstanding) when this happens. GOD I REALLY HOPE I DON’T DECIDE THIS IS MY NEW GOAL.
I love poetry. I do. I think it’s a wonderfully creative medium. It forces you to use the best, most perfect words. It forces you to condense your thoughts down to the most basic.
When it comes to poetry, I prefer the more traditional stuff. I can get into the newer open form poems, too, but I prefer the ones that rhyme. I think this is just my own personal preference. (For some reason, I am perpetually tying “rhyme” to “poetry” in my mind. Maybe one day I’ll figure that out.)
But no matter how much I love poetry (and believe me, I do, even though I don’t read it as often as I probably could), I can’t write it. I do try, to be clear. In fact, every time I settle down to read poetry, I come away wanting to try my hand at it again.
There’s always something that stops me, though. Is it that I’m so afraid of failure that I don’t even want to try? (If so, I really ought to go back to the Neil Gaiman quote on mistakes.) Or is it that I’m not sure quite what to say? Whatever the case, I always walk away from poetry pieces thinking to myself, “God, this is great, this is just amazing! I wish I could write like this!”
So I think I’m going to make it a point to try some poetry. At least I can say I tried, right?