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50 Thoughts on Writing: Part 2

Updated on September 3, 2016
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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

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

A professional writer is an Amateur who didn't quit.
A professional writer is an Amateur who didn't quit. | Source

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?

© 2015 Jennifer Arnett

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    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Thanks Mary, consider it a free book. The love of writing should be shared.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Jamie, that is a very age old question indeed. I can't presume to say what Stephen King intended, but I do think he may have meant that some people are born to write; they feel it in their soul; they feel compelled to write.

      I think every writer can be given tools to become better. Even people who say they're not good at writing can up their ante. However, those destined to be the voices of our generation--those whose writing speaks to people on a completely different level--I believe that they have natural born talent and drive. Not often do I meet bad writers with an intense drive to write. Usually, if you have the enduring drive, chances are you will be a good writer.

      I guess I have experienced this first hand. I have tried to train people in the art of screenwriting and I have come to the conclusion, that contrary to self-help books, it is nearly an impossible thing to teach. I can teach someone formatting and story arch formulas, but to create a scene that affects the reader--that is nearly impossible. It comes down to intuition and I think that is something that can't really be taught. To feel the right words is to have an almost spiritual experience. I have also sat through hundreds of hours of writing classes and seen, out of a class of 40, only 1 or 2 writers truly excel at their craft.

      One thing I have found that most quality artists have in common is the idea that the art tells them how it wants to be made. It comes to them in an indescribable way; Grammy award winning songs being written in 5 minutes and the response is, "it just came to me;" the marble speaking to Michelangelo; "Rocky" being written in 3 days; the writer who wrote something the night before, and in the morning hardly recognizes their own genius. Those are strokes of artist genius that cannot be taught.

      It's a good thing to be a block; keep being chiseled. Yes, writers write!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Excellent advice. Voted up and sharing.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Bill, as writers we get to see things in a way that no one else does. It's pure magic. Rear Window is a great movie.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Thanks Rtalloni, Part 3 is up. Glad you're enjoying it.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Jodah, best of luck with your stories. Yes, the only hard part about splitting a story into two hubs is that you become fully committed. When I set off to do 50 thoughts on writing I quickly realized that I was looking at easily 10,000 words and would need to split it up.

      A few years ago a hubber tried to create the longest hub. I think it was over some absurd amount like 100,000 words. It was a story that went on and on. I think HP shut him down. Sad thing, because I found it very amusing.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      3 years ago from California

      Ghaelach, Yes, I agree, you have to leave them satisfied but also wanting more. Very few writers can pull that off seamlessly.

      I always have an issue with the middle part of a story. I usually have an idea of the beginning of a story and have a rough or full picture of where I want the story to go. It's the getting there that is the hard part.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

      Jamie Jensen 

      3 years ago from Chicago

      I have heard a similar quote, "if you want to be a writer, then write!" Right now, I do non-fiction and advice-type posts, but I would love to get into creative writing. If writers are formed, I'm pretty much just a block at the moment.

      Do you think Stephen King is saying some people are born writers and others are not, so they never will be. I'd like to think that if one has the desire to be a writer, one can attain that goal.

      Jamie

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      I love this series, Jen. You provide motivation and food for thought at the same time.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      This is certainly a perfect compliment to Part 1. I can't wait to read Part 3.

      Isn't it funny how some writers know how to hit us right between the eyes? Chapter and verse of the writer's bible. I see a book here, one to speak to writers about what they love best.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

    • profile image

      missirupp 

      3 years ago

      It's true that the more you write the easier it gets.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the whole list so far, but 16 may be my favorite, and it is so true. Good job, Jen!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      3 years ago from the short journey

      Looking forward to part 3.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 

      3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      "Be a doer and not just a dreamer" and you have just done it. Your hub is provoking some lazy writers, thanks for sharing.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Jennifer, I just read both parts one and two. Love these hubs, great tips for writers. I have two stories that I have decided to write as hubs in two parts and I am having trouble coming up with endings I am happy with. I guess I should have written the entire story before I published. Anyway reading this has helped me I think. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 

      3 years ago

      Morning Jen.

      Very tough words.

      I suppose the "end all" of what you are saying is, if you want to be a writer then get up off your butt and do it. Don't just sit there moaning about it.

      The start being the hardest for most "wanna be a writers." That middle bit I find/found comes easy as one sentence flows into the next making the body of your story. Finding the right ending to your story is a bit of a challenge. I might be wrong but I feel you have to leave the reader wanting more, but not to leave them hanging in mid air wondering what they had missed. Getting all three phases of your story together is the trick. I'm still learning that.

      As with part one, part two is a good read with a lot of interesting info.

      Take care Jen and have a nice day.

      Ghaelach

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