www.whyville.net May 16, 2010 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Writing: A Work and an Art

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If I asked random people if they had thought, even imagined, they could be a writer, I'm guessing that a majority of the answers would be a loud, "Yes!" What's not to like about writing? You get to express your ideas and, if your piece of writing becomes published (be it an article or a novel), you get rich and famous! No matter who you are, there are at least a few books that appeal to you, and the prospect of writing your own is enchanting.

So why aren't there more people writing?

Take this quote from Laurie Halse Anderson: "What separates the writers from the non-writers is that the writers actually sit down and . . . you know . . . write."

But writing is hard.

When people think of the magic of writing, they don't think of the tedious, little things that are so essential. For example: "Should I use 'quickly' or 'swiftly'? Both seem to fit . . ." The magical part is usually a burst of idea, a brilliant thought that begins to take shape. But the in-between stuff isn't as fun or as miraculous. But it is of the same importance.

So how do you keep going when your brain is exhausted, you have writer's block, and critics everywhere (including the one in your head) insist that your writing is bad?

Well, the first step is to shut that critic in your head up. Make him be quiet. Stuff him in a hole.

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work. -William Gibson

Whenever I face writer's block, I turn to my trusty friend Dr. Wicked and his handy tool, Write Or Die. You set your self a time limit and a word goal, and then you write. Sounds simple, right? But if you hesitate to long and aren't typing fast enough, then you will be met with disastrous consequences. Okay, not really. But a loud shrieking will begin or your words will begin to be erased! Something about not wanting to get punished gets the creative juices flowing. It is a life saver. Visit his site (http://writeordie.drwicked.com/) to learn more.

If I just cannot get the story moving, I use these quotes:

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. -Raymond Chandler

When in doubt, blow something up. -J. Michael Straczynski

And finally, just keep going. If you get discouraged while writing, don't give up. It's a long process.


Author's Note: Sources: http://koti.mbnet.fi/pasenka/quotes/q-writ.htm


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