To Write or Not to Write – That is the Question.
When doing some freelance writing, especially if you are ghostwriting for someone, you will be presented with many topics or assignments. Sometimes, those topics will be in clash with your values. You are presented with the dilemma of writing the article or not. What do you do? After all, if you are ghostwriting, your name does not go in it. However, your are still the writer of that piece, and you know it. Where will that piece of writing end up? So the dilemma deepens.
On one side you have an assignment that will pay the bills, on the other side, it will kill you on the inside to write it. So what do you do? There is no straight answer to this question. You do what you do, and you deal with your feelings. This is a personal matter and my motto is to live life, and everything I do, well enough so I can go to sleep peacefully at night – at peace with the world and with myself.
To write or not to write – That is the question. And the answer is yours.
Every writer is a writer.
At first glance this may seem as a sentence without much meaning or even much sense. However, what prompted me to write it was that it occurred to me that sometimes we are quick to criticize other’s work without going deeper. Some might stop reading at the first grammatical error they encounter, others at the first cliché. I have read about a best-selling author giving an opinion on another writer (now a best-selling author) and saying that the author did not know how to write. The author became a sensation overnight. I guess my point is that we should not judge or ill criticize the writing of others just because it does not follow our style and common rules. There are no Gods in the world of writing just writers.
One thing is to present a piece to the world that is poorly written and obviously, without much care – that shows in writing. Another, is to write different from the masses. We should work on improving our writing everyday.
What happens when writing does not meet your expectations?
There are many ways we can approach the answer to that question. It is a matter of individual experience, and whatever your expectations are as a writer. At one point or another we will ask that question to ourselves, to the writer inside, and we may or may not like the answer. Or maybe, we might not have an answer at all – at least yet.
Sometimes, you will work hard, and harder, but the results and rewards just don’t show up in a pretty package. What then? Do you beat yourself up? Do you get discouraged and stop writing? Do you take a break to clear your mind and find a new path? Do you just ignore your feelings and keep writing anyway? Maybe, you will think of another approach to your writing.
Whatever your answer, it is one that you must deal with to be able to find your way as a writer – I am still figuring that one. If writing is your passion, keep at it. If you have to try different approaches, then try them. If you need to take a break and clear your mind, then do so. Do what you have to do, and what you need to do to find your writing path. For some it will take longer than others. Look at the different life stories of best-selling authors. For some it happened fast, while others took years figuring out that they belonged writing.
I guess my point is, a true writer finds a path.
Change your daily routine – fool your Muse.
Most of us have a daily routine for writing. You might wake up early in the morning, turn your PC on, while waiting for a cup of coffee, or maybe you check your email right away. Well, one thing leads to another, task after task, and soon you are following your usual routine. Sometimes, you feel inspiration may have left you for a while, and you fall into a writing rut.
Sound familiar? It may take, a simple change, such as sitting outside to write (weather permitting) or just move to your living room with pen and paper instead of your PC, to break the rut and feel inspired once more. Maybe your Muse was asleep and you surprised her by changing your routine.
Give it a try, and see if it changes the atmosphere for you. Surprise your Muse!
To start the kick-off of Inkspeare Poetry Month I will post my latest poems. I’m far from being a poet, and my poetry does not follow any rules. So, think of it a freestyle poetry – if there is such a thing. To view some of my poetry, please visit the tab Totally Inspired on this blog.
What stops you from writing?
Since I can remember I’ve had a love affair with the written word. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. My desire to write was in the back of my mind for many years. Deep down, I knew that I was meant to write, but I could not start. It was always something I would do one day, when I had more time, and life wasn’t so busy. Many years passed, and life got busier and busier, and I completely forgot about it – or at least did not think about it that much. It wasn’t until a series of unfortunate events, that I was forced to slow down and look into my soul. There it was, my desire for writing. Since I had nothing to lose, I gave it a try. It felt like a good pair of well-fitting jeans – comfortable and fitted. That day, I decided that no matter what happened I was going to continue writing – and I have.
There are many things on my plate now, but I won’t stop writing. Take a look into your soul – what is stopping you? For me it was the illusion of more time and the fear of not knowing what to write. At one point I was petrified, to glance at the piece of paper in front of me. It took something bigger than my doubt to put things in motion.
If you have thought about writing, but it seems very far in the future, get that image out of your mind. Pick up that pen or PC and start writing whatever comes to mind. It is just that first step away.
Emotions are everywhere, there is no way to escape them. From the very happy cashier to the very upset man next to you in traffic, from the time you wake up till the time you go to rest – even in your sleep, while having some very emotionally charged dreams. So, if emotions are all around you, why wouldn’t they be part of your writing?
When writing a piece, pay special attention to the emotions of the characters. Emotions should match the situation, and the character type. It would be weird to have a character that just suffered a heartbreaking loss, be worried about triviality (just to continue the story) – unless it is done on purpose to stress the unusual personality of this character or the particular way to cope with trauma. Such is the case of the serial killer experiencing ecstasy while murdering someone. It is all a balancing act. When you balance emotions in a piece of writing, it helps the natural flow of the story.
The question is, can you use emotion to dictate the story? Some pieces of flash fiction are a very good example of this. It starts with an emotion and the emotion develops the story to the end. Do a little experiment; when writing your next piece, pay special attention to what the characters are feeling and see how it is relating to the flow of the story.
“Write what you know.”
I have heard many authors say this, when watching their interviews. This is a very good point and excellent advice for us aspiring writers. Even when writing fiction and creating our own universes, those universes have to be filled with something – and that is when “what you know” comes handy. At the beginning, it is easier to write from knowledge than going through lots of research and deep waters. It is good practice and it comes from you. If you have a background in law, you will probably apply your knowledge in that mystery or crime novel, and so on …
That doesn’t mean that we will be writing what we know forever; at one point or another, we will embark towards unknown seas and shake our confidence a bit. It just means that it is easier to write about something that will flow naturally to us and keep us going. Eventually, we all know when it is time to cross that bridge.
What fits into the story?
When writing a story many ideas will come to you; sometimes the gates of inspiration will be open and a flood of characters, circumstances and themes will overtake you. You may be tempted to incorporate all in your story, after all, you may think – they came to you while writing that particular story. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some things may not fit in the current chain of events, and may fit later – or not fit at all. However, write down these ideas as they will become fuel for other writing projects.
When editing your current story, mind how things fit together. Cut out what doesn’t fit right or what seems lengthy and does not contribute anything to it. Readers will devour a story with an easy flow . The Twilight Saga from Stephenie Meyer is a good example of mammoth books with excellent flow for the reader.
Mind your ideas.
Ideas come from everywhere; from something you heard, saw, remembered, an object, a smell, or from something you read. Some writers avoid reading the genre in which they are writing their current piece. The reason, they are weary of borrowing any ideas, without intention.
The other day I read about the lawsuit going on between the estate of British author Adrian Jacobs and J.K. Rowling. It alleges plagiarism on Rowling’s part, but of course, not substantiated. It got me thinking on how many similar ideas float in a writer’s world, and how easy is to be influenced by a similar idea. I don’t consider this plagiarism, as many people can have the same idea and express it in a completely different way. This is not a copy. However, more than ever, we should mind our ideas, since writing has evolved in so many ways due to the internet and the many ways in which you can share your work these days. Ideas are free, and you are free to write what you want, as long as it does not land you in already claimed territory.