Write Then Write Then Write

 

Via Francesco Francavilla

Writing is hard. Well writing isn’t that hard, just starting to write is hard. So far, it hasn’t become and easier to get going. Once I get going it usually tends to progress smoothly and mostly feel right, but getting there is like pulling teeth. It feels like some strange holy process that you have to be in the perfect mindset and setting to begin. This is completely false. Just write damn you! Seriously, get going; write tired, write hungry, write depressed, write distracted if possible. You need to write and you won’t feel right unless you do it. Not sure if anyone is getting this but this is what I have to tell myself everyday. I say this after having a good week and a half of struggling to write. I have already written more today than I did the past week, which is fine, we all have periods of doubt and struggle. Move on and do what you need to do. Work to get better but always remember that with every word, stroke of your pen, or even a brush you are artistically progressing.

It helps knowing that even professional, well-accomplished writers still have a hard time keeping themselves accountable. Learning to work through self-doubt is one of the hardest things about the creative mind. Just know this, you will be less happy doing nothing, than you will be doing just a little that takes every bit of effort. Just spending fifteen minutes writing is progress, but chances are that once you get started you won’t want to stop. But if you all you can do is write a wretched paragraph, don’t get discouraged, count it as a success. Every awful word you write or type is worth the time, it doesn’t have to seem like it at the time but trust me, you will feel better writing something you hate than writing nothing at all. So ignore that self-doubt BS and just write what you can.

I feel like this is incredibly repetitive but this is one of those things I need beaten into me more than anything. As someone who has had a hard time finding that one thing they know they are supposed to do, I need this to keep me going. And I am sure that many others need this kind of perspective, whether it’s writing, music, art, or just getting through school or a project. We need it beating into us to just take things one wobbly step at a time and that’s what I am doing. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about me, and anyone feeling the struggle of their calling to just keep at it. So lets do that and not forget that its not easy, it’s the hardest thing to do. Giving up is easy. So just go out there and keep failing until you can finally succeed.


Well this post is entirely too serious. Here are some things making me feel good or inspired lately. Or just things I like. It’s my blog I can do what I want.

Kid Cudi – Yea I know, super vulgar and whatever.  Also sooo 2009.  I don’t care been inspiring me lately.  Dude makes great stuff all the while dealing with depression.  Pursuit of Happiness/ Simple As/ Cudi Zone/ Up Up & Away are the best tracks not in that order.

TESD – Podcast that is also super vulgar.  I still don’t care, its just nice to relate to some hilarious middle aged guys.  The main guys are from Comic Book Men and Impractical Jokers.

Haruki Murakami – Been really into this guys writing lately and never really feel disappointed by a book.   Also just found out he started writing around my same age.  If you like or don’t mind bizarre surrealist situations, science fiction, sexuality, cats, whisky, noir, or just fantastic writing then I can’t recommend Murakami enough.  Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is my personal favorite  but really any of his other popular novels are great.

I’ll probably post about things inspiring or keeping going on each posts, if this is a bad/good idea feel free to let me know.  Or don’t, more likely you don’t care or read this on accident.

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The Amateur Guide to Amateur Writing pt. 2

Continuation from the last post no one read or enjoyed….

 

Supplies

            A pen or pencil, a notebook, a smart phone, a computer sometimes, a hand, a brain of questionable quality, a child to distract you from getting anything done, just to name a few essential supplies.

I really like using the classic composition notebooks; they are 100 page soft covers, regular ruled. I have a few of these laying around so I can work on multiple pieces at once but its easy to rummage through a 100 pages if you want to work on multiple projects in one book. If this wasn’t obvious, I hand write all my fiction, I started initially typing out everything but didn’t get very far. Not sure why, I just find typing my work to be lacking in quality for me personally.

I haven’t began a deep editing process yet so I can’t really say what I use for that but I plan to do most of it on a laptop. Or I may just burn everything so no one ever has to read any of my attempts at stories. Notebooks burn much quicker than laptops so that’s another notch for handwriting. Really though, do what works best for you.

I don’t take a ton of notes throughout the day but I like to quickly jot Ideas when I can. So just using my smart phone to quickly jot a few notes and summaries. This will probably change though as my process evolves, I just don’t like carrying too many things.

 

Rough Writing

 

I have already stated that I hand write everything….except this post which is violently being typed away on an old MacBook Pro. If you find that typing while creating works for you then by all means do it, you are probably much faster at typing anyways.

That’s the next thing, I definitely recommend writing initially for bulk and for speed. Get everything out there, it’s like having a good bowel movement, you’ll feel much better once it’s all on paper. I know most people go in the toilet or a diaper but I think you get the gist. If you get stuck, keep going, you are writing a rough draft and that means you can worry about fixing it later. I can’t say how many times I just can’t think of the word I want to use and end up putting a boring placeholder in its place.

Trust me, I have no idea what I am talking about. Well actually I wouldn’t really say these things if I hadn’t also read popular authors saying similar things. It also helps that I’m not trying to sell you something in my posts, my ulterior motive is to melt your brain not manipulate it.

 

Coffee

Look how cool and hip this stock coffee image is. Just google coffee. Way easier than taking a picture on my stupid iphone of my crappy coffee.

Truly the essence of getting anything done is coffee. Also what’s the point if you don’t have any? If you don’t understand why this isn’t under supplies, well I don’t either.

 

This is pretty much it for my writing guide, pretty lame huh? Honestly I am still surprised you are still here. Its more likely you aren’t here and a tree fell on you in the woods and no one heard it because your eardrums immediately exploded and no one else was around. I’ll send you some flowers.

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The Amateur Guide to Amateur Writing pt. 1

After writing fairly consistently for half a year I have crafted what some would call a process. Others might call it a pointless arrangement of actions leading to nothing but I think process has a nicer tone. So here is a guide to my amateur process that you can read and incorporate. More likely you will find my writing process to be completely lacking and to you I say, “please comment!” I would love to hear alternatives to how I do things.

What is the origin of my process? The Internet of course, well blogs and such really. Mostly my process is based purely on what has worked best for me. That should be the number one priority because writing in a comfortable manner is the only way I can even get anything done. This will come up a bit more in this post. So here is my guide to amateur writing.

READ

Read, read a lot. In fact I now read directly before I write. Also read different genres, writers, and era’s to really expand your taste and writing style. I can’t tell you how much I have learned and observed just seeing how differently people write. That being said, let what you learn from reading flow naturally from your writing, don’t try to emulate authors who are good, but don’t not do that either. So read and keep reading.

If you don’t have as much time to read as you would like then listen. Having stories read to you in an audio book fashion is for me completely necessary. It helps me better understand the flow and voice of a novel. If you haven’t heard Neil Gaiman read one of his stories you are missing out. It’s literally an author reading you his writing in his own book. Listening to audio books is what made writing comprehensible. Having a story told to me clicked into my brain how to write. This may not happen for you like it happened for me but it can still help. It puts into reality that writing is just you telling a story in your own voice put onto paper.

So what am I reading you ask? Well you probably didn’t actually ask that but I am going to tell you anyways. The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop. This book is the bible of creative writing. It answers so many questions you have and ones you didn’t know you needed the answer to. The author, whose credentials are outlandishly legit, incorporates popular and successful writers point of views and his experience as a professor to give you a magical book that will inspire and help you build your craft. I have been mulling over this one slowly, trying to incorporate its ideas into my process. I am not even halfway through and yet I knew how great this was just reading the introduction.

Other than this book on writing, which I plan to find another once I finish this one, I mostly read fiction novels. That’s what I enjoy most and that’s what I want to write. I will confess that though I am mostly writing short stories and flash fiction right now, I am not reading much in these formats. Though I plan on remedying this fault soon.

 

I realize that this blog is pretty long already and will probably be splitting this guide into a few separate posts throughout the next week or two.  Also I kind of like the title of this post for the overall blog. 

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The Road to Failing Magnificently

After this first establishing post, most of my posts will be about the process and problems of writing. For me this blog is about inspiring myself to be a better writer and to keep at it daily. Hopefully this inspiration can spread outside of my own creative expression and into any other creators work.

 

I am an outsider to success. I say this because to fail would mean that you had to have tried. Instead I have spent most of my life putting some percentage other than one hundred into things I wanted to succeed at. There were a few things I put one hundred percent of myself into, but the time passed for those things and I failed to continue that mind set. Some of the things I put all my efforts into were just not meant to be, and that’s okay. Even if you really want something, move on if you feel it’s out of your reach. Put your efforts into something within your reach, something you feel, however unlikely, is attainable.

This sentiment describes my artistic descent from music, illustration, and sequential story telling and my ascent into writing. The reality is that these were things that, though I loved them, I could not feel or see a success in. Though I had moderate talent, I lacked something in all these efforts. That’s not to say I gave them up entirely, but I gave up on the dream of being a professional musician or artist. I can no longer see that reality and in all honesty, I don’t want it. I think future success is what drives most of my hobbies or interests, which isn’t inherently bad, but it definitely can be a source of anxiety and depression.

That’s why I say you have to give up on some dreams, find new ones that you didn’t know were possible. Reassess your interests, it’s possible that what you were meant to do was there all along but you never gave it the time of day. That’s why I am so serious about writing after nearly 28 years of having either little interest, or a lack of confidence to even begin such an endeavor. I find myself utterly satisfied by the prospect of becoming a better writer. I know I am not a great writer, but I see now that it doesn’t matter. This is what I want to do and it doesn’t depend on anyone but myself. I can pride myself in the effort I put forth. I can’t wait to fail because that will mean that I really tried. Failing is much more fun than being an old man thinking of the things you could have done. Instead I will be a fairly young man doing those things and hoping that the next thing I write will be successful.

Nothing has felt more right to me than writing does to me now. So you are welcome to come observe my magnificent failures and revel in my distress. Or you can find some way to relate and cheer me on through my lack of talent and into the realm of “not too bad”.

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