The Writing Workshop: Inspiration From The Masters
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
I am a writer! I may or may not be a good writer, but I am, in fact, a writer. I began my formal career of writing two years ago, but in truth I have been writing most of my life. I have the heart of a writer. I have the determination of a writer. I have the desire of a writer. I am a writer!
That is my first observation to you, and the underlying message that is so important for writers to remember: you must believe that you are a writer.
If you do believe in your ability, and consider yourself a writer, then welcome to the show that never ends. If you are anything like me, when you aren’t writing you are thinking about writing, or at least thinking about new ideas. No matter where I am, and no matter what I am doing, I am looking at life with writing topics in mind. How’s that for obsessive?
It all began for me when I read “To Kill A Mockingbird” in high school in 1964. For the first time in my young life, I was stunned by the writing of another person. Up until that reading I had no idea that it was possible for an author to capture the heart and mind of a reader. I simply had no idea that an author could so beautifully capture emotions, and do it all with such an economy of words.
I caught the bug that day, and ever since I have been delving in the fine art of writing, trying to make my mark….feed my soul….and carry the torches of Harper Lee and others.
I thought today I would share some quotes by giants in the writing field, and discuss each quote with you using my perspective and thoughts. Shall we begin?
I Am A Writer!
IT AIN’T EASY
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Ray Bradbury
I’m not sure what Mr. Bradbury was referring to, but I can tell you that for me, writing is a tough business, and if I allow it to be, it can be a discouraging business as well.
There are literally millions of writers out there, all trying to become recognized, all vying for a piece of the literary world pie. It is a daunting task to say the least, and it is oh so easy to entertain thoughts of giving up. I am, in some perverse way, encouraged when I read of the writing greats who came before me and how they struggled to become recognized. Many labored in relative obscurity for decades until they were discovered, and some were not discovered until after their deaths.
Why do I continue when I know the overwhelming odds are against me? I keep plodding forward because I stay drunk on writing, as Bradbury suggested. This is my passion! I love being the architect of words that can move people…..stun people….and it is that love that keeps me going ten hours per day, six days per week.
If writing is not your passion…if it does not feed your soul….if you do not become intoxicated by it….then you might as well be a janitor or work on an assembly line, for it will never be more than a hobby or job to you.
- Five Tips To Become A More Successful Writer
Writing is easy! Being a good writer a bit more difficult. Being a great writer is a gift from the gods. Check out these suggestions to become a better composer of words.
The World Needs You
- The Writing Workshop: Writers of the World, You Are Appreciated
Writing is an honorable profession, as is music and the arts. Be proud to be a writer;what you write will live on forever.
AN EXTENSION OF YOU
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth
Isn’t that a beautiful thought? The breathings of your heart! Our writing should become a part of us, and a part of us should be our writing. Whether it just be our writing voice, or a much more real extension of who we are as a person, our writing must reflect us as humans.
I spend part of each day writing SEO articles to help pay the bills and put food on the table. Believe me, there is nothing exciting in writing an article about how a car’s fuel pump works, but even in those articles my “voice” shines through. My voice is unique, and yours should be too.
Take me away from the SEO and my voice becomes a testament to who I am as a person. I have the freedom, away from the content gigs, to open up, spread my wings, and fly with the literary giants who came before me. I can’t fly as high as they did, nor as swiftly, but I am still flapping my wings and rising above the trappings of the material world.
When I write for myself, I have a clear understanding of how Harper Lee or Steinbeck felt when they were writing their masterpieces. I understand the striving for perfection. I understand the need to make each word just right, and I understand the joy that comes with briefly achieving that perfect phrase.
It is intoxicating enough to keep me moving forward, and it is rewarding knowing that what I write is who I am, and no one can replicate what is inside of me.
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”~James Michener
There is a huge difference between writing “and she cried,” and writing in such a way so the reader cries. The truly gifted writers can do that; they can reach inside of their readers and yank out their hearts. They can have their audience laughing out loud and crying uncontrollably, all because they understand the human experience.
I suspect that most of the masters of this writing art have lived a life filled with experience. They have suffered deprivation; they have been knocked to their knees and they have experienced heartache and severe emotional pain. Once having experienced such emotions, they then find a way to mirror those emotions with their words, and that is when you know you are reading the work of an excellent writer.
Do not tell people that your character cried; relate it in such a way so your audience weeps openly. When you can do that then you will have arrived as a writer.
ChristyWrites Has A Tip
- Writing Tips: Advantages of Writing Articles from the First Person Perspective
While the first person perspective is largely discussed in the genres of fiction and poetry, it is also a useful point of view for writing articles in print and online.
THE POWER OF THE WRITTEN WORD
“Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”~Nathaniel Hawthorne
I am again reminded of Harper Lee. Not once in “To Kill A Mockingbird” does she tell you that bigotry and racism are evil. She does not have to say those words because the entire book delivers the message with the power of a perfectly throw right-cross.
Not once in “Grapes of Wrath” does John Steinbeck tell us that poverty is a social ill that can destroy a nation, but read his masterpiece and you will come away understanding that a nation is only as strong as its weakest link.
Reflect on the implications of Hawthorne’s words. We, as writers, have the ability to affect social change. We have the potential to move mountains as others before us have done. Every single time we sit down to write, we have the ability to alter the world we live in. Because of the internet, we have the ability, quite literally, to reach millions with our words and thoughts, and it is at least possible that we can become an instrument for good….or evil.
You can’t do that working in a grocery store!
WRITERS BLOCK? WHAT WRITERS BLOCK?
“The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.”~Agatha Christie
I’m going to guess on this one, but I think Agatha is telling us that inspiration comes when our minds are at rest. At least that is my deduction. I know it to be true for me. Most of my writing ideas come either when I first wake up in the morning or when I am involved in other activities, like going for a walk or working in the garden.
I cannot force ideas; I have tried and it is a complete waste of time and energy. Allow your mind to slow up and relax; take time during the day to immerse yourself in other interests or tasks. Read a book; observe life; do anything other than think about topics and you just might be surprised how quickly an idea comes to you.
I honestly have not had writers block during the two years I have been writing full-time. My problem is I have too many ideas and not nearly the time to devote to them. Once I solve that problem I just might be prolific!
IF YOU LOVE WRITING, THEN WRITE!
“It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.” ~Sinclair Lewis
Writing is not for those with a thin skin. Writing is not for those who have low self-esteem and give up at the first sign of adversity. Writing is not for those who cannot handle criticism or rebuke.
There will always be the naysayers who will tell you that your writing is not good enough. There will always be those who will say that you are wasting your time and your talent is not at the level it needs to be at. To those who would say that to me I say “get out of my face.” I don’t have time for them, and I don’t have time for their negativity. I believe in myself and I believe in my ability. I have surrounded myself with supportive, loving people who allow me the freedom to follow my dream. You should do the same!
If your passion is writing….if you truly love to write….then dammit, write!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)