“Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.”
“The only requirement,” to be a writer, said Stephen King, “is the ability to remember every scar.”
I have a few scars (and you do, too). There’s that girl in the eighth grade, my father’s illness in the seventh, and there was that boy earlier than that who told me to shut up every time I spoke to him.
When did I learn to fear my voice?
I get it. You’re busy. You have other commitments: work, school, the kids, your friends. I understand.
I know writing a short story or a novel or a blog post is scary. What if someone reads it? And yes, it’s true. You might fail. People might not like what you write. Worse, they might ignore your writing altogether.
However, if you’ve ever wanted to be a writer, now is the time to start. If you don’t believe me, here are seventeen reasons to write right now.
If you’re like me, you probably have way too much on your plate. Kids, school, work, the dreaded pile of laundry gathering in the corner. How do you make time for your writing when you’re so busy? One way to keep writing when you’re too busy to write a book is to write a poem instead.
As I’m writing this, it’s a cloudy morning in Georgia. The sticky heat of summer has finally let off. The crickets are still going away and the trees look marvelous. That’s one thing you don’t get in California, at least the part of California I grew up, huge, green trees everywhere.
And as I’m looking at them, sipping my coffee, I asked myself, when was the last time you noticed those trees? When was the last time you were this grateful just to be alive?
It’s been my experience that all my best writing—and most satisfying writing time—comes out of this place of gratefulness, this rootedness in the moment.
However, I’m in the process of launching a book right now, and I don’t have time to look at trees or even write very much. All I have time to do, it seems, is market. Of course, nearly every author today is struggling with the same thing. We all have to market our books. We all have to hustle if we want our words to spread. Which leads me and others to the question:
Is it possible to write and market your books at the same time? And on a larger scale, is today’s publishing reality keeping us from creating our best art?
How do you evoke a full sense of the time and setting of a novel? One way to quickly make sure your readers know exactly where they are (and when) is to write about the news.
How do you become a better writer? Most people choose one of two paths: studying in school or writing whatever they feel like. This leaves out one important step…
Are you intentionally using complex, that is, ‘refined’ vocabulary in your writing? Is it because you feel it sounds better, sophisticated, cultured?
For quite some time now, my observations of the style of proclaimed authors indicate they use simple vocabulary. Yet, even though their choice of words is rather simple, the thoughts they are expressing and the way of expression they use is what makes their writing special.
It’s safe to say there are more writers now than at any other time in history. When I went to the AWP conference in Chicago earlier this year, there were 10,000 other writers there. The amount of creative writing programs at universities have exploded from about 50 in the 1980s to over 300, just in the US. Oh, and there are over 110 million blogs.
Someone get a gun and shoot me because that’s a lot of competition.
Seriously though, why are all of us writing? Why do we do it it the face of the increasingly limited attention spans of the broader public? It’s not like we’re making any money at it.
I think we write for four main reasons…
Honestly, throughout most of high school and college, I was a mediocre essay writer. Every once in a while, I would write a really good essay, but mostly I skated by with B’s and A-minuses. I know personally how boring writing an essay can be, and also, how hard it can be to write a good one.
However, toward the end of my time as a student, I made a breakthrough. I figured out how to not only write a great essay, I learned how to have fun while doing it.
That’s right. Fun.