So. Not a guru, then. But I do have a few thoughts about writing that I want to share, and I will at least TRY to be completely honest.
And that’s something, right?
OK. The first thing to say about writing is that it’s terrifying.
Did I write that large enough? Writing is
Because the thing — the thing writers usually won’t tell you — the thing is that half the time, writers … even the best writers …
don’t know what they are doing.
They don’t know exactly how to achieve the effect they want. They don’t even know exactly what it is they are trying to achieve. Sometimes writing involves just taking a big leap into the unknown and hoping that somewhere along the way you’re going to figure out what to do next.
It’s a bit like skydiving, or fighting a bear.
Perhaps you can share stories about dangerous stuff you do? What’s it really like to fight a … no, I’m just kidding. Don’t do dangerous things. Although if you did you could tell us … But no. Don’t.
So writing is like skydiving, or fighting a bear:
if you’re not terrified, you’re not paying attention
Yep. Most of the time, if you’re doing it right, if you’re really invested in it, if you really care about your work, writing isn’t easy and it isn’t dreamy and it isn’t charming. It certainly isn’t peaceful.
And here’s something else.
Writers lie to each other all the time.
Here’s one of the lies they tell:
You can separate yourself from the work. When people reject or criticise your work you shouldn’t be hurt. They’re not rejecting or criticising you.
Yes, people will try to tell you
it’s not personal.
All right. Let’s think about this.
You take a piece of blankness. You take a great big empty space, and you fill it with words and thoughts and imagined places and imagined people. You draw characters and scenes and events. You create stuff — out of a great big pile of nothing. Out of your own head and nerves and blood.
Nobody knows how that happens. Our creative imagination, our ability to conjure up something from nothing, is a wonderful exciting mystery. But when you think about it, one thing is completely obvious, isn’t it?
This is personal.
I reckon writing is about the most personal thing you can do.
And it gets worse.
So … you finish your writing …
AND THEN you hold up your little offering. You hold it high up — way, way up there for as many people as possible to look at.
AND THEN you say, ‘please tell me what you think about it.’
Ever had bad experiences with this? Ever had good ones?
That isn’t just personal. It’s dangerous. It’s terrifying!
And, at the same time, it’s also fantastic.
(Yes, Auntie Gwendoline. )
So, this website is about that — about all the ways writing is great and all the ways it isn’t, and there’ll hopefully be some tips, too, some things that I’ve learned about writing while I was doing it.
There are some menus and blog posts up there on the … or maybe they’re …
Look, they’re here somewhere. Have a look around. If you’re interested in writing, you might find some of it helpful. I really hope you do.
And I also want to repeat …
if you like writing, and you are still determined to do some, well, I know I keep saying it can be awful …
but it can also be wonderful.
It won’t be easy, but there will be times when it’s just tremendously thrilling and rewarding.
Share those. It will keep us all motivated.
So now, if you’ve got a minute, and you want to do some writing and get better at it … well, this website might be a good place to begin.
- Thanks to these people for the images.