It Doesn’t Matter What You Write

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What should you be writing?

  • A blog post?
  • A short story?
  • A novel?
  • A poem?
  • A guest post for another blog?

Words by Pink Sherbert

I believe in focused goals. To build a career in writing (if that is what you're going for), you need them. You have to write long pieces of work, books usually, and these things take a lot of focused time and energy. So I asked someone for advice.

“What should I be writing right now?” They didn't pause to answer.

“It doesn't matter,” they said.

“What?! What do you mean it doesn't matter? Of course it matters.”

“Nope. You just need to write.”

It took me a second before I got it. We are focused on goals and careers, but really, at the early stages of our careers, all that matters is that we write.

Put pen to paper and get words out into the world. Your words. You need to create a flood of them and send them to your friends and family and even to strangers so they know, “Oh, that's such-and-such. He's a writer.”

So here I am writing a blog post because I've committed to it, but afterward, I might write a poem or a single sentence or an inspired comment on someone else's blog or even another post.

Or I might carve an eloquent poem into a bathroom stall.

It doesn't matter.

It matters that I am writing.

PRACTICE

Write something.

Anything.

Whatever you want. Just start writing.

Fifteen minutes starting… now!

(Oh, and of course you'll want to post your writing in the comments to encourage us, won't you?)

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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64 Comments

  1. Kevin Mackesy

    What to do with my life? Where to go? And with whom? These are the questions that haunt me every day. One thing is certain, it’s not what I’m doing now. And it may not even be where I am now. There are different aspects to God’s will. Of course, there’s His revealed will which He’s graciously provided for us in Scripture.

    Love God.
    Love your neighbor.

    Whatever I do, wherever I end up, this has to be at the core of it. So in a sense I know what God wants me to do. But then there is this aspect of what I should actually, literally, day-in-and-day-out, do. And it’s here it seems that the opportunities are endless. God has gifted me with certain skills and passions so I can only assume that whatever I do needs to also involve these skills and passions.

    I love Jesus and I love to write.

    So I’ve taken a step towards marrying these two passions in a blog. It launches Monday and it’s called allthingsloss.com. A journey of 1,000 miles must always begin with a single step.

    Consider this my step.

    I can’t see the destination. I can’t even see a mile up the road.

    So I’ll just write. And I’ll attempt to bring glory and honor to Jesus through it. Who knows what may come of it? I sure won’t if I don’t take that first step.

    Here goes…

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    What to do with my life? Where to go? And with whom? These are the questions that haunt me every day. One thing is certain, it’s not what I’m doing now. And it may not even be where I am now. There are different aspects to God’s will. Of course, there’s His revealed will which He’s graciously provided for us in Scripture.

    Love God.
    Love your neighbor.

    Whatever I do, wherever I end up, this has to be at the core of it. So in a sense I know what God wants me to do. But then there is this aspect of what I should actually, literally, day-in-and-day-out, do. And it’s here it seems that the opportunities are endless. God has gifted me with certain skills and passions so I can only assume that whatever I do needs to also involve these skills and passions.

    I love Jesus and I love to write.

    So I’ve taken a step towards marrying these two passions in a blog. It launches Monday and it’s called allthingsloss.com. A journey of 1,000 miles must always begin with a single step.

    Consider this my step.

    I can’t see the destination. I can’t even see a mile up the road.

    So I’ll just write. And I’ll attempt to bring glory and honor to Jesus through it. Who knows what may come of it? I sure won’t if I don’t take that first step.

    Here goes…

    Reply
  3. Cyndi Pauwels

    I can write an awful lot of words in fifteen minutes. So far today I’ve commented on two blogs (maybe fifty words), tweaked the final draft of a too-long-in-progress essay (967 words) and polished an accompanying cover letter (300 words) before sending it off to a magazine in violation of my own let-it-sit-for-at-least-a-day rule. I’ve written several emails, from a sentence to a full page or more, some business, some personal. A grocery list is pending.

    But guess what? As productive as that may sound (or not), it’s all an insidious form of procrastination. I’m avoiding what I really should be writing, what I want to be writing. The WIP novel that screams at me from the recesses of my hard drive has been neglected far too long. Why? I’m not sure. Writer’s block is such a banal, overused excuse. Anxiety? Fear of failure? Possibly. A recurring case of “why bother?” is always a possibility. I read far too many blogs that bemoan the state of the publishing industry. Walking into any bookstore and seeing the hundreds of titles piled into remainder bins is enough to make any would-be author flee in terror.

    Then yesterday I sold a short story, one that had been rejected ten times. And last month, I had an essay published in a respectable anthology. My publishing credits continue to grow, however slowly (alas, not my bank account, but that’s another matter). The number of followers on my blog creeps up every week. My words are getting out there, somewhere. Someone is reading them. So I need to write more.

    I tell myself that every day, as the pull of Google+ and Twitter and Facebook and an ever-lengthening list of Google Reader items keeps me from my work. I allow myself to be distracted. The dogs. The laundry. Email. The garden. Time with hubby, when he arrives home every evening, exhausted and seeking his own dreams which are so often unfulfilled by the grind of teaching reluctant students. I am blessed to have this time, to think, to dream, to write, and yet I squander far too many hours on needless pursuits out of fear of…what? Succeeding? I was told that once, by one of the several therapists I’ve visited over the years. He felt I avoided trying new possibilities because I was afraid they might work, that my fears would be proven unjustified. At the time I shrugged it off; it didn’t fit the moment, or the issue. Now, however, it almost makes sense.

    So here I am, writing in response to a blog challenge by someone I’ve never met, for no good reason other than that it forces me to put words on the page. It dislodges the brain dam (see how I avoided “writer’s block”?!) and records the thoughts that flow, no matter their source or destination or purpose. Sometimes that’s all it takes to move past the fear.

    I can write an awful lot of words in fifteen minutes. – 500, this time. Now to apply that effort to the WIP.

    Thank you for pushing me.

    Cyndi

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Congratulations on selling the story Cyndi. (Can I ask who you sold it to? I love to know these things.)

      And yes, you’re so right, simply starting writing can kill writer’s block. Writing a book is a painful thing, like intentionally putting your forehead to a power sander. All I can say is good luck and get back to work.

      Reply
      • Cyndi Pauwels

        Thanks! It’s to an online journal called Over My Dead Body! (yes, with the exclamation point), but I don’t have details yet, just an offer. I’ll certainly share publication date when it becomes available.

        Now if I can just tackle this novel…

        Reply
  4. Cyndi Pauwels

    I can write an awful lot of words in fifteen minutes. So far today I’ve commented on two blogs (maybe fifty words), tweaked the final draft of a too-long-in-progress essay (967 words) and polished an accompanying cover letter (300 words) before sending it off to a magazine in violation of my own let-it-sit-for-at-least-a-day rule. I’ve written several emails, from a sentence to a full page or more, some business, some personal. A grocery list is pending.

    But guess what? As productive as that may sound (or not), it’s all an insidious form of procrastination. I’m avoiding what I really should be writing, what I want to be writing. The WIP novel that screams at me from the recesses of my hard drive has been neglected far too long. Why? I’m not sure. Writer’s block is such a banal, overused excuse. Anxiety? Fear of failure? Possibly. A recurring case of “why bother?” is always a possibility. I read far too many blogs that bemoan the state of the publishing industry. Walking into any bookstore and seeing the hundreds of titles piled into remainder bins is enough to make any would-be author flee in terror.

    Then yesterday I sold a short story, one that had been rejected ten times. And last month, I had an essay published in a respectable anthology. My publishing credits continue to grow, however slowly (alas, not my bank account, but that’s another matter). The number of followers on my blog creeps up every week. My words are getting out there, somewhere. Someone is reading them. So I need to write more.

    I tell myself that every day, as the pull of Google+ and Twitter and Facebook and an ever-lengthening list of Google Reader items keeps me from my work. I allow myself to be distracted. The dogs. The laundry. Email. The garden. Time with hubby, when he arrives home every evening, exhausted and seeking his own dreams which are so often unfulfilled by the grind of teaching reluctant students. I am blessed to have this time, to think, to dream, to write, and yet I squander far too many hours on needless pursuits out of fear of…what? Succeeding? I was told that once, by one of the several therapists I’ve visited over the years. He felt I avoided trying new possibilities because I was afraid they might work, that my fears would be proven unjustified. At the time I shrugged it off; it didn’t fit the moment, or the issue. Now, however, it almost makes sense.

    So here I am, writing in response to a blog challenge by someone I’ve never met, for no good reason other than that it forces me to put words on the page. It dislodges the brain dam (see how I avoided “writer’s block”?!) and records the thoughts that flow, no matter their source or destination or purpose. Sometimes that’s all it takes to move past the fear.

    I can write an awful lot of words in fifteen minutes. – 500, this time. Now to apply that effort to the WIP.

    Thank you for pushing me.

    Cyndi

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Congratulations on selling the story Cyndi. (Can I ask who you sold it to? I love to know these things.)

      And yes, you’re so right, simply starting writing can kill writer’s block. Writing a book is a painful thing, like intentionally putting your forehead to a power sander. All I can say is good luck and get back to work.

      Reply
      • Cyndi Pauwels

        Thanks! It’s to an online journal called Over My Dead Body! (yes, with the exclamation point), but I don’t have details yet, just an offer. I’ll certainly share publication date when it becomes available.

        Now if I can just tackle this novel…

        Reply
  5. Margaret Telsch-Williams

    Good post. That does seem to be the biggest problem with us writers is the tendency to talk/blog/read about writing more than we actually do write. Once you learn how to turn that ship around, though, it can be a fantastic process. I literally do write something every day and it makes a big difference.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you Margaret. Daily writing is definitely key, you’re right.

      Reply
  6. Margaret Telsch-Williams

    Good post. That does seem to be the biggest problem with us writers is the tendency to talk/blog/read about writing more than we actually do write. Once you learn how to turn that ship around, though, it can be a fantastic process. I literally do write something every day and it makes a big difference.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you Margaret. Daily writing is definitely key, you’re right.

      Reply
  7. Denise Urena

    Go for the poem in the bathroom stall 🙂

    This is great advice. It’s easy to get caught up in goals and what “should” we be writing about. I’ve already written for a couple of hours today, so done!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Yeah Denise! Get ‘er done.

      I did write a poem, but didn’t write one on a bathroom stall (yet). Someday, though, I would like to do a poem series on the bathroom stalls all across town, then have an potty poem tour: you get a map written on a roll of toilet paper.

      Reply
  8. Denise Smedley

    Go for the poem in the bathroom stall 🙂

    This is great advice. It’s easy to get caught up in goals and what “should” we be writing about. I’ve already written for a couple of hours today, so done!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Yeah Denise! Get ‘er done.

      I did write a poem, but didn’t write one on a bathroom stall (yet). Someday, though, I would like to do a poem series on the bathroom stalls all across town, then have an potty poem tour: you get a map written on a roll of toilet paper.

      Reply
  9. August McLaughlin

    Another terrific post, Joe.

    As with cars, getting started can be the hardest part. In my case, a short film led to a short story, which evolved into my novel. Very grateful I started! 😉

    I imagine you’ll inspire many with this… Kudos!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      From short film to novel? Wow, what a ride it must have been. Have you blogged about that? I’d love to read about it.

      Thanks so much, August.

      Reply
  10. August McLaughlin

    Another terrific post, Joe.

    As with cars, getting started can be the hardest part. In my case, a short film led to a short story, which evolved into my novel. Very grateful I started! 😉

    I imagine you’ll inspire many with this… Kudos!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      From short film to novel? Wow, what a ride it must have been. Have you blogged about that? I’d love to read about it.

      Thanks so much, August.

      Reply
  11. Rosanna

    Yes, I agree- all that matters is that we get the words out. Whether it is content writing or writing a novel, we feel the need to let it out and that’s what makes us writers. Whether we have a thousand readers or only our own pair of eyes, ultimately, it is allowing the energies to come out through words that makes us feel good.

    Reply
  12. Rosanna

    Yes, I agree- all that matters is that we get the words out. Whether it is content writing or writing a novel, we feel the need to let it out and that’s what makes us writers. Whether we have a thousand readers or only our own pair of eyes, ultimately, it is allowing the energies to come out through words that makes us feel good.

    Reply
  13. Eric Hanson

    The clouds remain a dark grey, as they have for the last three days straight. Taking advantage of a break in the rain, I hoist my red REI backpack, heavy with camera equipment, upon my back. I make my way to the trailhead, stuffing a last minute CliffBar into my mouth.

    A few minutes into the trail I realize my rain jacket is still draped over the backseat of my Ford Explorer. I contemplate going back to fetch it, but thinking the worst of the weather was over, I continue onwards. I hope I won’t regret the mistake.

    A creek gurgles over some rocks a few feet to my left, the path mimicking the contours of the creek. After just a few hundred feet on the trail, I feel as if I am a hundred miles from the nearest soul. I drink in a gulp of the moist, rich air. It feels mighty good to be out in the wilderness again, like reuniting with family for the holidays. Fall colors surround me. Oranges, yellows, and reds hang in the air on the boughs of the trees. The trail is nearly covered with colorful leaves, having been pelted with rain for the last three days.

    I am on a mission, to photograph North Georgia in the prime of fall. Knowing the best window for photography is short, I hope this day won’t be cut short by the rain. My eyes scan the ravine for a potential shot. Opportunities are everywhere, but as it is already late afternoon, darkness will come quick and I have to be selective. A mile into the trail, I come across the first series of falls. Raven Cliff boasts several falls along its trail, this one is more a series of short cascades than a waterfall, but it is beautiful and has some interesting natural lines. I think it has some potential to make a nice photograph. I scramble down the ravine, using the exposed roots as a makeshift staircase.

    I mentally urge myself to be careful on the slick, worn granite. One slip and I’ll be swimming. And so will my camera. I look overhead, inspecting the thick clouds that are blocking most of the sunlight. This is going to require a long exposure, at least five seconds. Coordinating the lines of the rock, the water, and the curve of the ravine in my viewfinder, I click the shutter.

    Drops of rain splotch onto the glass of my wide angled lens. I look up at the blackening clouds and see what I already know. I fold up my tripod and sling my pack over my shoulders. My camera is around my neck, unprotected. I need to get back to the trail and off this precarious rock. Under normal conditions, I wouldn’t even think twice about where I stand. But this gently sloping rock is wet and covered with leaves that might as well be banana peels. I take a few steps back up the ravine to return to the trail when my back foot loses its grip. I try to correct the slip and replant my feet, but as I do so I realize it’s no use and I am already on my backside. The hard granite sends a shockwave through my left cheek and I realize I am about to take a drink in the river. I can do nothing to arrest my slide into the river.

    No thinking, only reacting. I’ve stopped somehow with minimal damage. My heels are wet, as is my butt, but my camera is dry and I am somehow not in the river. I take a deep breath and inspect my position. Somehow during my fall I had found a protruding rock with my left foot that kept me from going all the way into the river’s current. My back is arched, my body spans two feet of water like a human bridge. That was close! Slowly, and with difficulty, I extricate myself from this precarious position and return to the trail.

    I give thanks that my gear is dry and I keep moving. With the rain coming down as hard as it is, I am no longer out here for photography.

    No, my camera is gonna make it home dry. I think. One risk was enough. My camera is stayin’ in the pack.

    With my camera stowed away, I am simply an outdoorsman, a lover of nature. I keep moving. The mud of the trail squishes beneath my boots. The chill of the rain makes its way through my pullover. The music of rain and river fills the air. I smile.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Eric! This is awesome. Thank so much for swinging by.

      Loved this line,”After just a few hundred feet on the trail, I feel as if I am a hundred miles from the nearest soul.” It made me feel both lonely and full at the same time.

      And the story is great. Great foreshadowing when you mention your rain jacket. The rain hits at the perfectly worst time. And then the unexpected fall. Very fun. Good job.

      Reply
  14. Eric Hanson

    The clouds remain a dark grey, as they have for the last three days straight. Taking advantage of a break in the rain, I hoist my red REI backpack, heavy with camera equipment, upon my back. I make my way to the trailhead, stuffing a last minute CliffBar into my mouth.

    A few minutes into the trail I realize my rain jacket is still draped over the backseat of my Ford Explorer. I contemplate going back to fetch it, but thinking the worst of the weather was over, I continue onwards. I hope I won’t regret the mistake.

    A creek gurgles over some rocks a few feet to my left, the path mimicking the contours of the creek. After just a few hundred feet on the trail, I feel as if I am a hundred miles from the nearest soul. I drink in a gulp of the moist, rich air. It feels mighty good to be out in the wilderness again, like reuniting with family for the holidays. Fall colors surround me. Oranges, yellows, and reds hang in the air on the boughs of the trees. The trail is nearly covered with colorful leaves, having been pelted with rain for the last three days.

    I am on a mission, to photograph North Georgia in the prime of fall. Knowing the best window for photography is short, I hope this day won’t be cut short by the rain. My eyes scan the ravine for a potential shot. Opportunities are everywhere, but as it is already late afternoon, darkness will come quick and I have to be selective. A mile into the trail, I come across the first series of falls. Raven Cliff boasts several falls along its trail, this one is more a series of short cascades than a waterfall, but it is beautiful and has some interesting natural lines. I think it has some potential to make a nice photograph. I scramble down the ravine, using the exposed roots as a makeshift staircase.

    I mentally urge myself to be careful on the slick, worn granite. One slip and I’ll be swimming. And so will my camera. I look overhead, inspecting the thick clouds that are blocking most of the sunlight. This is going to require a long exposure, at least five seconds. Coordinating the lines of the rock, the water, and the curve of the ravine in my viewfinder, I click the shutter.

    Drops of rain splotch onto the glass of my wide angled lens. I look up at the blackening clouds and see what I already know. I fold up my tripod and sling my pack over my shoulders. My camera is around my neck, unprotected. I need to get back to the trail and off this precarious rock. Under normal conditions, I wouldn’t even think twice about where I stand. But this gently sloping rock is wet and covered with leaves that might as well be banana peels. I take a few steps back up the ravine to return to the trail when my back foot loses its grip. I try to correct the slip and replant my feet, but as I do so I realize it’s no use and I am already on my backside. The hard granite sends a shockwave through my left cheek and I realize I am about to take a drink in the river. I can do nothing to arrest my slide into the river.

    No thinking, only reacting. I’ve stopped somehow with minimal damage. My heels are wet, as is my butt, but my camera is dry and I am somehow not in the river. I take a deep breath and inspect my position. Somehow during my fall I had found a protruding rock with my left foot that kept me from going all the way into the river’s current. My back is arched, my body spans two feet of water like a human bridge. That was close! Slowly, and with difficulty, I extricate myself from this precarious position and return to the trail.

    I give thanks that my gear is dry and I keep moving. With the rain coming down as hard as it is, I am no longer out here for photography.

    No, my camera is gonna make it home dry. I think. One risk was enough. My camera is stayin’ in the pack.

    With my camera stowed away, I am simply an outdoorsman, a lover of nature. I keep moving. The mud of the trail squishes beneath my boots. The chill of the rain makes its way through my pullover. The music of rain and river fills the air. I smile.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Eric! This is awesome. Thank so much for swinging by.

      Loved this line,”After just a few hundred feet on the trail, I feel as if I am a hundred miles from the nearest soul.” It made me feel both lonely and full at the same time.

      And the story is great. Great foreshadowing when you mention your rain jacket. The rain hits at the perfectly worst time. And then the unexpected fall. Very fun. Good job.

      Reply
  15. Susan May

    You sound like me giving advice. Eighteen months ago, inspired by a friend writing and blogging a poem a day, I decided to write a page a day of a novel. I figured by the end of the year, I would have 365 pages. What I received in the end was a discipline and a view into a writer’s world at which I previously could only guess. Who was to know that characters come alive and write their own stories.

    By the second month I was writing two pages a day. Now, I can write a thousand words an hour (usually for around 3 hours a day) and if I take a day off, or a week, it doesn’t matter, I will always come back to it. I am a writer now and I get it.

    In the end, after 18 months, I have an unfinished 425 page novel (first attempt-at writing-not so good), now another finished novel in 2nd draft and eleven short stories, five of which are published and award winners, and four doing the magazine/anthology rounds at the moment.

    And it all started with one page a day. I cried in the beginning because my writing (in my mind) was so terrible. But word by word you get better. I don’t know how. It seems like magic to me. You crawl, then you walk, then you run.

    But like everyone I suffer from procrastination and I just wrote a blog on that yesterday cause it was really bothering me. However, now, I accept the good and the bad of writing and procrastination is just part of the game, just like rejection, just like the thrill of typing ‘The End’. Stephen King once wrote, and I am paraphrasing, ‘If you go to the gym every day, you will build big muscles. If you write every day, you will build big writing muscles and end up a good writer.’

    Now I am off to do some editing weights. They are my least favourite, but great for toning.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      What an inspiring story, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      Where can we find some of your short stories?

      Reply
      • Susan May

        Thank you Joe for your interest. You are very kind. This one, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, won first prize in a comp http://www.writing-information-and-tips.com/fl1-first.html . At my blog, http://susanmaywriter.blogspot.com/ there are links to the anthologies in which the others were published. ‘

        But, I think in the past few months my writing has improved. I think you jump levels as you go along but I don’t take credit for it so much. It seems to me, someone else is in my head doing the writing and I just get the credit, if that makes sense.

        The other thing to mention, that as well as writing a lot, you need to read a lot. I try and read a book a week. Although, at the moment, I am wading through Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. At 1100 pages, that may take me longer. Its not very well written, I might add. So there is hope for all of us.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          I read “Hell’s Kitchen.” It’s very fun, that little twist at the end. Very Hunger Games-esque. I like your pacing, too. You’re descriptive but don’t dwell in the boring details. You have a good sense for drama. Thank you for sharing that with us 🙂

          Reply
  16. Susan May

    You sound like me giving advice. Eighteen months ago, inspired by a friend writing and blogging a poem a day, I decided to write a page a day of a novel. I figured by the end of the year, I would have 365 pages. What I received in the end was a discipline and a view into a writer’s world at which I previously could only guess. Who was to know that characters come alive and write their own stories.

    By the second month I was writing two pages a day. Now, I can write a thousand words an hour (usually for around 3 hours a day) and if I take a day off, or a week, it doesn’t matter, I will always come back to it. I am a writer now and I get it.

    In the end, after 18 months, I have an unfinished 425 page novel (first attempt-at writing-not so good), now another finished novel in 2nd draft and eleven short stories, five of which are published and award winners, and four doing the magazine/anthology rounds at the moment.

    And it all started with one page a day. I cried in the beginning because my writing (in my mind) was so terrible. But word by word you get better. I don’t know how. It seems like magic to me. You crawl, then you walk, then you run.

    But like everyone I suffer from procrastination and I just wrote a blog on that yesterday cause it was really bothering me. However, now, I accept the good and the bad of writing and procrastination is just part of the game, just like rejection, just like the thrill of typing ‘The End’. Stephen King once wrote, and I am paraphrasing, ‘If you go to the gym every day, you will build big muscles. If you write every day, you will build big writing muscles and end up a good writer.’

    Now I am off to do some editing weights. They are my least favourite, but great for toning.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      What an inspiring story, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      Where can we find some of your short stories?

      Reply
      • Susan May

        Thank you Joe for your interest. You are very kind. This one, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, won first prize in a comp http://www.writing-information-and-tips.com/fl1-first.html . At my blog, http://susanmaywriter.blogspot.com/ there are links to the anthologies in which the others were published. ‘

        But, I think in the past few months my writing has improved. I think you jump levels as you go along but I don’t take credit for it so much. It seems to me, someone else is in my head doing the writing and I just get the credit, if that makes sense.

        The other thing to mention, that as well as writing a lot, you need to read a lot. I try and read a book a week. Although, at the moment, I am wading through Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. At 1100 pages, that may take me longer. Its not very well written, I might add. So there is hope for all of us.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          I read “Hell’s Kitchen.” It’s very fun, that little twist at the end. Very Hunger Games-esque. I like your pacing, too. You’re descriptive but don’t dwell in the boring details. You have a good sense for drama. Thank you for sharing that with us 🙂

          Reply
  17. Morgan McKeown

    For the world to work there has to be both the funny people and laughers, I’m more of a laugher. Every funny person needs someone to appreciate their jokes. I’m great at understanding and encouraging other people’s humor and not nearly as skilled at making my own. The same goes for writing. I love reading but to create my own writing and allow my stories to come alive on the page is terrifying. I’ve created when I had to but I’ve never been able to discipline my self and find a writing rhythm.

    Over the last few years God has been saying, “Write.” I have done everything but. It’s hard to write, hard to face reality in black and white. I’m scared of churning out sentimental junk in word form, producing something that only speaks to my life instead of evoking universal truth. How important is my trite, banal crap? Would anyone want to read it?

    Fear surges when I think of exploring the hidden nooks in my brain and putting them in words. Certain things are covered for a reason. The ultimate battle between writing and me is one of feeling self-indulgent, who really wants to read about my thoughts, when others have more interesting, well-worded, impressive things to say.

    It all boils down to that bastard emotion, fear. I want to pretend it’s not there or that I’ve overcome, but reality is different. Writing brings up fear for me. I’m afraid of what I’ll learn about my self. I hate the idea of no one liking what I do; my underlying people pleaser comes out in ugly ways. Deep down I’m terrified that I won’t do justice to the stories simmering up inside me. After so much neglect they are boiling. I can’t ignore them any longer with out being scalded.

    So what do I listen to? The voice of God saying, “bring justice through your words,” or the voice of fear? Right now I’m writing. I’m choosing truth. Thinking about hitting the post button on this is making my heart pound but it’s a step in the direction of freedom. How ever tentative it might be I’m taking that step.

    Reply
  18. Morgan McKeown

    For the world to work there has to be both the funny people and laughers, I’m more of a laugher. Every funny person needs someone to appreciate their jokes. I’m great at understanding and encouraging other people’s humor and not nearly as skilled at making my own. The same goes for writing. I love reading but to create my own writing and allow my stories to come alive on the page is terrifying. I’ve created when I had to but I’ve never been able to discipline my self and find a writing rhythm.

    Over the last few years God has been saying, “Write.” I have done everything but. It’s hard to write, hard to face reality in black and white. I’m scared of churning out sentimental junk in word form, producing something that only speaks to my life instead of evoking universal truth. How important is my trite, banal crap? Would anyone want to read it?

    Fear surges when I think of exploring the hidden nooks in my brain and putting them in words. Certain things are covered for a reason. The ultimate battle between writing and me is one of feeling self-indulgent, who really wants to read about my thoughts, when others have more interesting, well-worded, impressive things to say.

    It all boils down to that bastard emotion, fear. I want to pretend it’s not there or that I’ve overcome, but reality is different. Writing brings up fear for me. I’m afraid of what I’ll learn about my self. I hate the idea of no one liking what I do; my underlying people pleaser comes out in ugly ways. Deep down I’m terrified that I won’t do justice to the stories simmering up inside me. After so much neglect they are boiling. I can’t ignore them any longer with out being scalded.

    So what do I listen to? The voice of God saying, “bring justice through your words,” or the voice of fear? Right now I’m writing. I’m choosing truth. Thinking about hitting the post button on this is making my heart pound but it’s a step in the direction of freedom. How ever tentative it might be I’m taking that step.

    Reply
  19. Susan May

    Joe you are so kind. I so appreciate your comments. You learn to be not too descriptive when writing to word counts. That comp was 1,000 word max and it had to begin with ”Second by second, the crimson stain crept..” Comps are a great way to practice your writing and learn about merciless editing. Do you write short stories?

    Reply
  20. Susan May

    Joe you are so kind. I so appreciate your comments. You learn to be not too descriptive when writing to word counts. That comp was 1,000 word max and it had to begin with ”Second by second, the crimson stain crept..” Comps are a great way to practice your writing and learn about merciless editing. Do you write short stories?

    Reply
  21. Kati Lane

    There was nothing she wanted more in that moment, than to find a ship and sail away. Well, perhaps not so much a ship as an ancient sailing vessel. Or maybe even a dingy would do. But, she knew she must escape, and putting a large body of water between herself and the black-suited guests in the room seemed the only judicious thing to do.

    How had she gotten here? And why was the blaze of black (her color of preference almost every Friday night) suddenly bringing the bile into her thoat and up through her nose?

    Any close friend – acquaintance, even – would have been able to point out the obvious issue of the two caskets, side by side, just begging to be seen as she entered the cold room.

    Why mix the heady perfume of ten dozen roses with the grueling scent of death? Funny, when she’d been at the florist just 54 hours ago, they’d seemed perfect. But now, as she moved in, she felt like a fool. What had she thought – that she could mask the horror of the week, cover her impossible loss, with a sea of her family’s favorite blooms?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I love this kati. You come right out in the beginning with what your character wants. Then, quickly we learn why. A funeral. I like how many unknowns there are, though. Your constantly forcing the reader to catch up, which in my opinion, is an excellent way to make the reader read on.

      And this perfect image to bring it back to the beginning, “a sea of her family’s favorite blooms.”

      So when are you going to write the rest of this story?

      Reply
      • Kati Lane

        yeah, well i told you at my last posting that i would take your input about desire and add it to my repertoire 🙂 so thanks for that.

        funny you’d ask about the rest of it. i’m going to try nanowrimo (national novel writing month) so perhaps something will become of the issue of the two caskets.

        thank you for providing specific feedback. most helpful.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          Nice. Let me know how NaNoWriMo goes. We have a few readers who are doing it. If you need help along the way, or someone to read it when it’s finished (I may only have time to skim, but I will do it with pleasure), let me know 🙂

          Reply
          • Kati Lane

            thanks! i’ll be combing your site, and goinswriter (who led me here) for tips to advance the effort.

          • Joe Bunting

            Please do 🙂

  22. kati

    There was nothing she wanted more in that moment, than to find a ship and sail away. Well, perhaps not so much a ship as an ancient sailing vessel. Or maybe even a dingy would do. But, she knew she must escape, and putting a large body of water between herself and the black-suited guests in the room seemed the only judicious thing to do.

    How had she gotten here? And why was the blaze of black (her color of preference almost every Friday night) suddenly bringing the bile into her thoat and up through her nose?

    Any close friend – acquaintance, even – would have been able to point out the obvious issue of the two caskets, side by side, just begging to be seen as she entered the cold room.

    Why mix the heady perfume of ten dozen roses with the grueling scent of death? Funny, when she’d been at the florist just 54 hours ago, they’d seemed perfect. But now, as she moved in, she felt like a fool. What had she thought – that she could mask the horror of the week, cover her impossible loss, with a sea of her family’s favorite blooms?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I love this kati. You come right out in the beginning with what your character wants. Then, quickly we learn why. A funeral. I like how many unknowns there are, though. Your constantly forcing the reader to catch up, which in my opinion, is an excellent way to make the reader read on.

      And this perfect image to bring it back to the beginning, “a sea of her family’s favorite blooms.”

      So when are you going to write the rest of this story?

      Reply
      • kati

        yeah, well i told you at my last posting that i would take your input about desire and add it to my repertoire 🙂 so thanks for that.

        funny you’d ask about the rest of it. i’m going to try nanowrimo (national novel writing month) so perhaps something will become of the issue of the two caskets.

        thank you for providing specific feedback. most helpful.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          Nice. Let me know how NaNoWriMo goes. We have a few readers who are doing it. If you need help along the way, or someone to read it when it’s finished (I may only have time to skim, but I will do it with pleasure), let me know 🙂

          Reply
          • kati

            thanks! i’ll be combing your site, and goinswriter (who led me here) for tips to advance the effort.

          • Joe Bunting

            Please do 🙂

  23. Marwaarafa

    I love this. I remember reading a quote once that looks something like this “The first step of being a writer is admitting and acting like you’re one” So true, I am a writer and I am going to keep writing. It’s not a career, it’s a definition, my definition. Writing completes and defines me. I am a writer and like that I shall live and like that I shall leave this Earth, A Writer.

    Reply
  24. Marwaarafa

    I love this. I remember reading a quote once that looks something like this “The first step of being a writer is admitting and acting like you’re one” So true, I am a writer and I am going to keep writing. It’s not a career, it’s a definition, my definition. Writing completes and defines me. I am a writer and like that I shall live and like that I shall leave this Earth, A Writer.

    Reply
  25. Will

    I wanted to catch the King’s eye; he was just right there, amid clouds of smoke and shadows and piled-high platters of food. Every so often the smoke from the fireplace – only a few feet next to him – concealed his face.

    And worse, he looked like he was avoiding me. It was an easy thing – he was surrounded by other guests to his manor more nobler than I. They were by default the more interesting speakers, and the ones whom it would do well to compliment. All these great men haggled around the King, engaged in one huge crossed conversation, like arguing merchants at the fair. The noise was massive – I couldn’t hear the King’s voice. A silver wine cup – a sign of true wealth – passed among the lower ranks at the table. I was surprised to see it passed to me, once, and even more surprised to see the lord of the house himself had had the grace to do it.

    I raised it as high as I could above the enormous pile of roasted meat next to me, wiped my lips with a shaking cloth, and drank to the King’s health. He barely heard it – my voice echoed timidly and without effect.

    When he acknowledged me at last, the night was getting old. His grand company had too much to drink and eat – they’d wake up tomorrow with sore, swollen bellies from the meat and wine. The handful of noble ladies from the feast had retired. With a tremble I saw I was the only one perched to attention at the dining table.

    When he looked at me, and spoke to me, his voice was far softer than I imagined.

    Reply
  26. Lele Lele

    He took a sip. The bitter dark liquid entering cooling the insides of his mouth. It traveled down to his esophagus. He grimaced.

    “Ugh,” she said. “That looks awful.”

    He held out the mug holding the liquid to her.

    She raised an eyebrow. He nodded. Slowly she reached out her hand and took it.

    The liquid was dark. She sniffed it. It was cold. It had a bitter aroma. She help it up her mouth and took a small sip.

    “Bleh,” she said. She pushed the mug towards him. “It’s bitter. Coffee?”

    He took it and took a gulp. He wiped the moisture of his mouth with his hands. “What’d you expect?”

    She shrugged. “Dunno, Coke?”

    “I hate Coke,” he said. He swirled the mug rotating the liquid over his hands.

    “I know,” she said.

    She twisted in his bed. From lying down to facing up. She stretched her hands.

    “You know,” he said as he stood up from his chair and sat in the bed right next to her. “You could always sleep in your bed.”

    She played with the lights passing through her palm. Close, open. Close, open. “I know.”

    He rolled his eyes and slammed his free hand on the bed. “Come on Sis, you’re being emo all of the sudden.”

    Her eyes shot wide open and she jerked up sitting. Clutching her chest she said. “The hell you scared me for?”

    He talked to his mug. The liquid lost some of its cool. “Your being weird. I’m creeped out.”

    “Eh,” she said. She took one of his pillows and hugged. “Me? Weird?”

    He drank the remaining liquid and gulped it all down. Splotches of liquid pattered down his lips. “Yes, way weird. You’re acting- you’re acting, er, I don’t know.”

    “You’re the one acting weird.” She pointed a finger at him. “Drinking cold coffee at night.”

    She scooted closer and wiped the drips of his lips. “Come on, now this is disgusting. Didn’t I teach you anything when we were younger?”

    “Er,” he said. A blush crept up his neck. “It’s your fault.”

    “What?” she said. “My fault?”

    Reply

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