A weekly feature where I delve into famous writer’s words of wisdom and share how I have interpreted the meaning for my own creative endeavors!
“I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”
There is one golden rule for all things in life that make it a lot simpler to navigate what is right and what is wrong for you, and that is if you don’t fill in the blank (i.e. love, respect, want, need, obsess, etc) first then how can anyone else?
As a creative there are no set rules, there is no one path to follow, no A) B) and C) way, it’s a luck of the draw, zeitgeist, iron hot, collective conscious, Ah-ha! type of situation. Yet no matter the facts we do – as a society – try to still fit it into a box.
You have to do it this way, no proverbs, no longer than five lines, too much description, too little description, show don’t tell, you’re showing too much, you’re showing too little, da-da-dee-da-da-da and so it goes.
There is so much contradiction when it comes to the creative “how to’s” that it can leave one weary to try to be any different then what is already a proven market success, pre-established, and safe.
Vampires are hot right now so what if I just pound out a YA vampire romp just to get my foot in the door, then I can focus on my speculative fiction piece about aliens set in the civil war!
What if I wrote a horror screenplay because those are easy and they sell even though my heart is in drama?
This is exactly the kind of get notice quick scheme that makes you just another voice in a very large crowd because thanks to the internet everyone’s a writer nowadays!
You keep editing, writing, and rewriting your project because every other day somebody on Medium is writing about the do’s and don’t’s of writing your first novel and now you’re feeling insecure!
Well first thing is first: there is no right and wrong in the world of writing! There are no hard and fasts! What matters first and foremost is that you are writing! Is that you believe in your dream, your idea enough to put it into action and write it the fuck out!
The second thing is that every story has been told in some way or another, there are no new ideas or original stories, it all comes down to the same old formula, what varies is perspective and voice.
That’s what makes you get noticed. That’s what makes you stand out.
Now ask yourself why? Why is this the idea that made you finally start? That gets you excited and all dancing in your skin because you just love to think about those characters, this situation, the words and where they lead, that have you coming back day after day?
Because you, at this stage of the game, are your first numero uno fan! You are the stay up later, the first in line, the conspiracy theorist, the reddit admin. Before you know it, hell, you’ll even be writing the fanfic! Ever hear of prequels anyone?
You have to be your idea’s ride or die, you’ve got to go all freakin’ stan-fan on it and anybody who tries to negatively – not to be confused with constructively – poo-poo on you and your world.
What you commit yourself to as a writer – or any creative profession for that matter – has to have your heart, because this world wasn’t meant to simply produce product. We write to add to the human experience, to capture, reflect, and convey humanity in a way that touches something worthy of reaction.
Well that reaction has to start with you! It has to move you, to thrill you, to excite, anger, entice and involve you in order to provoke that same reaction in anyone else!
At the end of the day every critique, every piece of advice, every rule, guideline, and commandment of writing has to be taken with a grain of salt and a bit of speculation – if not there would be absolutely no voice overs in movies ever!
You have to trust your gut enough – the very same gut that got you into this lovely insanity that is writing – to know what’s right and what feels right for you and whatever it is that you are writing.
Most great writers, hell even writers not that great but great successes, have one commonality, one universal rule that they followed that aided them in their careers and that was that they didn’t bother playing by other peoples rules. At the end of the day they wrote what they wanted to write and the rest just fell into place.
There will be plenty of time for market research, for the pitch and bitch, for editing, for submitting and yes, second guessing, later. First comes the writing, the story, the idea and the fandom of one that moves it all forward, that powers this engine and makes shit happen!
What will make the business side of things easier to deal with is that you believe so wholeheartedly in what you are trying to sell that people wont be able to help but jive off that energy that you’re putting off, take a hit, and get high themselves!
We are the trend setters, the true believers, and we are the dreamers of the dream!
wright because you want to read, you want to follow these characters, to see where they are going, and they will end up. You have to be along for the ride in order to catch the breeze of forward momentum.
Art isn’t subjective, criticism is.
Because at the end of the day, when all is said and done, everything eventually has a time and a place. Just do you!