Writers Resources

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Writing is something I’ve grown to love, and loath. It always feels like one or the other, never anything other than that.

Waking up, the sun shining through the blinds, my kids playing in the hallway as my wife tries to wrangle them for school, I often sit in bed, pen in hand and write what I hear in the house.It’s these little observations that make a writer.

We’re often trying to get the next story written, plotted or struggling to make sense of the story we’ve just finished.

The ride of writing is one which, though the rails seem to slide off at times, buying the ticket for the train ride is more than worth the price of sleepless nights of worrying about the next sentence, thinking about the next story or wondering if you’re going to make it.

Every writer thinks these things. We all have days when we wish we’d have burned the ticket for the ride, or when we would have jumped off the train when the rails felt unstable. These moments are the clarity moments, the ones where the best writing happens.

The ride of writing and discovering what we enjoy writing is nearly better than the act of writing.

Each journey of the story we’re pulled into a world we never knew existed and sometimes a world we’d like to live in.

With each story we purchase a ticket into Neverland, where we take the ride and whether we enjoy it are up to us.

Are you enjoying the ride? Answer in the comments.

Night_Sky_Stars_Trees_02
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

Oftentimes, we’re stuck in a reality of chaos, wrapped in an enigma of what we believe our lives should be. And through the chaos time stands still.

We see where we’ve wanted to be with our lives, where we are and how far we have to get there or maybe we think that our lives are under our control and not fate. If fate is in control why don’t we just walk through the middle of the freeway during rush hour and “take our chances on fate?”

Our reality is we must keep doing what we’re doing, ignore the mystery of who we are. Wake up tomorrow and plan better than we did the previous day, or days.

If we’re going to reach for the stars we need to create a better star chart. Without a star chart we’re wandering, staring at a sky full of blinking lights.

Your life is in your hands, as is your ability to create. Your ability is given to you to do as you please, but if you don’t use it wisely you’ll be like every other creative who gave up and threw away their star chart, or worse…burned it!

The gift every writer has is a story. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, at least not at first, as long as you enjoy it. You’ll learn to hone your ability the way a comic book character learns when to use that super strength and when is the worst time.

Your life goes by faster than you believe, and when you don’t stop to write it down, sooner or later it will be gone and you’ll discover you don’t have any notes or stories.

When you discover your gift for writing you’ll learn that you can write better than you thought and it will teach you that all those people who support you were really right, and those who said you’d never succeed didn’t know your drive or willingness to achieve great things.

Go out with the gift you have and amaze yourself and eventually you’ll learn your reality isn’t chaos.

You’ll discover that enigma of who you are, it was staring you in the face the entire time.

That time you believe was standing still was only a dream and you’re control the time circuits.

Deal a blow to time and do something amazing with your gift.

Have you created your star chart? Answer in the comments.

Sunlight

What do you know about yourself? What have you seen? Where have you lived?

These are what I believe is meant by, Write What You Know.

Only you have lived your life, only you have done the things you’ve done. These are the breaths on the wind, the muse whispering in your ear.

The things you’ve done with your life are unique, because only you’ve experienced them. No one else has lived your life, and because no one has seen life through your eyes, no one can write what you can.

There are famous writers who’ve employed this with great success: Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms, Mark Twain and though he’s done other books, Neil Gaiman.

Neil’s most recent adult book, Ocean at the End of the Lane, the book is one of his most personal, as it takes place on the lane and in the house he grew up in.

Each writer incorporates their lives into their writings. This is what, Write What You Know, means.

Here’s how:

  • Make a list of places you’ve traveled to.
  • List interesting people you’ve met, they don’t have to be famous. You only had to find them interesting when you met them.
  • Write down the big things that happened, good or bad, in your life.
  • Make a list of people you’ve lost, and learn about who they are.

From the above lists you should be able to write a story which is both original–because it’s from your point of view–and people would like to read.

Remember only you’ve lived your life, no one else. No one has seen life from your point of view. Write only what you know, only what you’ve seen.

Use imagery from your childhood, your teenage years and your early adulthood. There is always a story, if you only look for it.

Are you writing what you know? Answer in the comments.

Delusions of...

I like the idea of trying to write a book in every genre.

China MIÉVille

Our idea of what our writing should be is covered up by labels.

These labels aren’t what we want, but a way for publishers to place our work in the market.

Each of us write different genres, but these genres shouldn’t limit who we are as writers.

Are we a Fantasy writer with their epic worlds and magical places?

Or possibly, a YA writer, creating worlds for teenagers to escape from reality and possibly discover someone in fiction who’s going through the same struggles they’re going through?

Then again, maybe your a Science Fiction writer, creating marvelous technology and doing amazing things in the future or some place among the stars.

Being any of these is great, but being the writer you want to be is more important than being classified as one genre or another.

Many writers write in different genres. Neil Gaiman has written children’s books, adult books, YA and comics. Stephen King may be the king of horror, but his Dark Tower series is fantasy.

Never let anyone tell you what you should write.

Even if you’re published, you can always write genres other than what you’re known for, even if you have to keep them to yourself for a while.

Writing is about discovery. Find the right story for you, whatever it is.

The genre isn’t as important as good writing.

Don’t define your writing by a genre classification, let others do that. Just write!

What’s your favorite genre to write? Answer in the comments.

Alley in the Dark

Alley in the Dark

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell

We fear things because we’ve been conditioned to do so.

All our lives we’ve been told, “They’re different, you shouldn’t talk to them.” or “That food is weird, you shouldn’t try it.”

The problem with this is we find ourselves stuck fearing everything. Whatever happens in our lives we discover that there’s a fear attached to it.

Writing is a major fear for a lot of writers, not because we’re afraid to write, it’s because we’re afraid of our writing not being as good as it could be, or it not being as strong as we’d like it to be.

We sit at our desk writing and the fear of poor prose can stop us from writing. Doubt of our own abilities can kill a writer’s confidence which in turn will kill a writer’s imagination.

Getting through our fear of not living up to our own abilities will make us stagnant or worse yet lead us down the path of forgetting why we started writing in the first place.

You should keep a list of reasons why you started writing:

  1. Make sure this list is visible when you’re writing.
  2. Create a desktop wallpaper with the list on your computer.
  3. This list can be something you share with those close to you, or not. If you tell them why you write, they may be more inclined to support your efforts.

Fear management is the best thing you can do for your creativity. Keeping your fears in check will keep you writing and will make your supporters more willing to help you.

Like the quote at the start of this post, fear of doing things in your writing will lead you away from your goals, even if you write for yourself and don’t plan on publishing, fear will create the negativity that keeps you from finishing a story, book or poem.

Don’t fear entering the cave, run through it screaming, searching for the treasure you earned from writing.

Are you afraid of entering the cave? Answer in the comments.