50 Thoughts on Writing: Part 2
Don't Miss Part One of this Series!
- 50 Thoughts on Writing: Part One
50 rapturous thoughts, crumbles of advice, delectable quotes, and rambling ponderings on the craft of writing.
15. Don't be afraid to do the impossible.
Writing isn't the art of perfect imitation and reflection, it is the art of suspended disbelief. Create a world that doesn't exist, build characters that have never walked our streets, add in aliens, floating castles, giants, dwarfs, or talking animals—you can get away with them all so long as you ground them with a human touch.
The reason Pooh Bear and Eeyore are believable, isn't because of a talking teddy bear with no pants, or a depressed donkey in a stick house—the reason they are believable is because they feel and show human characteristics: Sadness, loneliness, depression, hunger, compassion, and friendship.
16. Everyone is secretly a voyeur.
The reason everyone loves reading books and watching movies is because we humans are naturally curious—we want to know what life is like for others. We want to experience and feel things that we ourselves have never done or felt. If you're skeptical just watch Hitchcock's Rear Window.
Writers are naturally voyeuristic—we have to be, it's in the job description. If all you ever wrote about was your own life, then you'd never write anything other than one long autobiography. You have to write about things outside of yourself, and to do that, you have to watch the world around you.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, to people watch, to interview interesting characters, and to experience everything. As a writer you have to.
17. “We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”— John Updike
My Favorite Book on the Craft of Writing
18. Stephen King, in his On Writing book, wrote:
"This is not an autobiography. It is, rather, a kind of curriculum vitae-my attempt to show how one writer was formed. Not how one writer was made; I don't believe writers can be made, either by circumstances or by self-will (although I did believe in those things once). The equipment comes with the original package."
Just as Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth, so too can writers be formed. He wasn't made out of nothing, he was formed from the dust, in the same way writers can't be made from nothing, only formed, polished, and sent out of the garden.
19. Create a habit of writing.
Ask any professional writer what is the best thing you can do to improve your craft and you will almost always hear that to excel you must create a daily habit of writing. This accomplishes several things:
- It teaches your brain to start writing and get creative when you sit down at your writing desk. Some professionals recommend doing it at the same time every day.
- Creating a writing schedule helps you to not overbook yourself with other commitments.
- It turns writing from a hobby into a professional endeavor. Professional tennis plays don't take long holidays, they work at their sport almost non-stop.
- You will get a little bit better every day.
- The more you write the easier it gets—to me, anyway.
- You prove to yourself that you are committed.
20. Don't Quit
21. Be a doer and not just a dreamer.
To paraphrase the Book of James, writing without words is dead. If you want to be a writer—great! Now, show me your words.
Anyone can say that they want to write something, but very few actually do! The world was built by doers, not dreamers.
There is no such thing as "I want to be a writer." It's very simple actually: either you write or you don't.
Stop putting it off. If you have a brilliant idea that is going to rock the literary world, then get busy and stop yapping about it. Deal?
Continue on to Part 3
- 50 Thoughts on Writing: Part 3
Part 3 of my series on writing. Come one, come all for a free Creative Writing education.
© 2015 Jennifer Arnett