"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Writing Advice

There's a lot of writing advice out there, and I do mean a lot. From books to blogs to conventions to websites, if you're looking for advice, you'll find it. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Hell, some of it is bat shit crazy, but I guess that depends on the person. We all need to figure out what works for us, and I do mean what works for us, not what we like.
Personally, I like numbing my brain with hour upon hour of television, but that isn't going to get a successful writing career off the ground. I like giving myself excuses for not get anything done, to let myself off the hook constantly and to plain out go into denial mode when there's something I don't want to do. But again, that's not going to get me very far.
The point of this seeming abundance of writing advice is to try it out. Picture yourself in a clothing store trying on different kinds of pants. There are some you assume will fit, and instead they make your butt look big or show a truly indecent amount of crack every time you bend over to tie your shoe or pick up your purse (if you aren't checking for this before you buy a pair of pants, you really should. You'd be doing the rest of the world a big favour. I don't care how cute your butt is, I don't want to see it hanging out of your pants. It's not sexy, it's disturbing). And then of course, there are those God-awful, make you laugh out loud parachute pants that you would never in a million years try on, but you should. You never know how something's going to work until you give it a try. (Although please stay away from parachute pants... and spandex... and ankle biters). I for one, am not a big fan of the more hippie-esque techniques sometimes boasted about in books and magazines. But every once in a while, those techniques are just what I need to loosen me up and get me writing again.
Now, conversely, you also have to realize when some techniques aren't working for you. Maybe you thought that mapping out your entire novel before you began was a good idea, but six months later your "map" looks more like a disfigured Jackson Pollock and you have no idea how to actually write the thing and therefore never get around to it. Or perhaps you thought the fly by the seat of your pants style, where you allow the novel to evolve as you write sounded ideal, but you're so busy letting it evolve that it goes nowhere, because you have no idea what your story is actually about.
So, here's my advice. (Oh come on, you knew I'd get around to it eventually). You can take it or leave it, I'm not a guru and I don't claim to be an expert on anything except maybe on being judgmental, but here it is. Be open minded, try anything and everything that sounds interesting at least once, and be willing to recognize when something isn't working. No one's going to find their perfect method on the first try, there will be many hiccups and adventures along the way. Write first and worry about getting the rest right later.

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