Before you fun out and spend all your Christmas money, please consider donating a $1 or $2 to DAWN- a Nonprofit serving young woman fighting cancer. If you cannot spare a dollar- than I ask you to SHARE this. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Monday, November 4, 2013
You: I have another fear: the fear I'm not good enough.
Me: Well, so what? What the Sam Hell does 'good enough' even mean, anyway?
You: Good enough to get published. Or publish myself. Or be read. OR TO EVEN EXIST AT ALL.
Me: This is a first draft. Calm down, Twitchy McGee. May I suggest you care less about your work? You're not saving babies, okay? And besides, good enough is a made-up metric. It's not like there exists some kind of checklist. You're not the one to judge. The audience will judge. And the only way they get to judge is if you're willing to write this first draft and then edit the unmerciful sin out of it until it's as good as you can possibly make it. You need to give them that chance, and that means letting go of this absurd horsepoop notion of 'good enough'
instead grab hold of a far stronger and more applicable one: are you determined enough?
Are you stubborn-as-a-2-year-old enough?
That's the metric. That's your measure.
You: Okay. Okay! I can maybe do this. Do I need to write to specific market?
Me: The only market that matters is you. This is your book. Barf your heart onto the page.
Me: It is. But it's worth doing just the same.
Listen: put one word after the other.
Approximately 2000 of these a day.
Throw in periods and commas where appropriate. Make sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters.
Put characters on the page and in those chapters that interest you.
Have them do things that scare you and delight you in equal measure. Commit them to plots and ideas that compel you and that have no easy answers.
You're the first audience. Entertain yourself. Challenge yourself. Let the story lead. Let your own desires for the story lead.
Forget what anybody else thinks right now. This isn't for them. This is for you. This is a test. This is the dig in the dirt of novel-writing. This is mud and electric shocks and rabid badgers and Sarlacc pits and homeless doomsday preppers with knives made of glass and electrical tape --
You: You've never run the Tough Mudder, have you?
Me: No, but I'm can be one.
Listen: anybody can be a writer. No writer wants to admit that -- because we want to feel like special But writing is a mechanical act. It's just plonking words down onto a page.
Storyteller is more than mechanical -- that's where the art really lives, in the storytelling, but even there, storytelling is an act that's twisted around our DNA. Everybody tells stories. We tell stories about that guy we saw at the bank, about that car accident, that night at the High School Prom. Half our lives are remembered as and communicated via story. So this is just that: you utilizing the mechanical act of writing to impart the intuitive act of storytelling.
You: You make it sound so simple.
Me: It isn't. And it is. And then it isn't again.
But that's not the point of National Novel Writing Month. But for now: it's the act of doing. This is you stomping your footprints across the artistic landscape.
You: I'M SO NOT READY, I AM SCARED
Me: No, you're not. You are never really ready. Sometimes I think I am. Sometimes I realize I'm not. And it doesn't matter. Because being really truly ready would ruin the fun. You know how you get ready? How you get good enough? By doing exactly this. By writing. By finishing. By editing. And by going back and doing it all again and again.
You: I'm going to do this.
Me: Yes, you are.
You: I'm going to write a book.
Me: And it will be one of the coolest, weirdest things you've ever done.
You: Awesome. I'm gonna go write now.
DO IT!! Just write- write today, write tomorrow, keep writing.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
A Generation Lost
Everyone over the age of 40 is getting down on social media communities continuously examining their phones.
My comment to you is how is that any different (or worse) than your insistence to have TV on ALL FUCKING DAY. It is loud, intrusive and obnoxious. At least we choose what we visit and interact with whom we choose. You are being spoon fed whatever the advertising, media outlet or Koch Brothers want you to believe. There is no interaction, no feedback from you – just slurping horror and crime down your brain gullets 24/7.
The TV is on all the time, in every room. You don’t shut it off when visitors come over. You don’t shut if off when someone calls. You don’t EVER shut it off. It is always in the background poisoning your mind. They are in every restaurant, bar, gym, trains, airports, banks and even the stores, there is no reprieve from the giant squawk box. It is spewing hate, fear and loathing from plastic morons with modified faces and you believe every word.
At least our social interaction is quite, self-directed and contains many funny cat videos.
Next time you go to complain about the youth doing this:
Look at your own habits of doing this:
Turn your damn TV’s OFF!!!
(I will quit updating my Facebook status- right after I post this.)
Your writing assignment today- Turn off the TV all day and write a letter to someone you love. Make it positive and full of possibility and maybe a cute kitten picture.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Thanks to Chuck Wendig for this dialog
You: **panicked gulps of breath**
Me: You seem a little wibbly.
You: Oh, I'm wibbly. Super-wibbly. Wibbly to the max.
Me: *looks at calendar* Oh.
You: It's National Novel Writing month.
You: *vomits in a shoe*
Me: Definitely writing a novel. Also, that was my shoe.
Me: I didn't like that shoe, anyway. A very hateful shoe. So, what's the prob?
You: I just -- I can't -- baaaaaah. *flails and points at the blank screen*
Me: The empty page.
Me:. The blank page is some terrifying business.
You: It's scaring the Halloween candy right out of me.
Me: Understandably. The white page is all cliff, no bottom. It's an endless pit. A snowy expanse without a single track to follow -- and you're thinking, if I go stomping my boots into this stuff I'm going to ruin it. It's pristine, now. Untouched. Infinite possibility. The novel you've not written will always be more interesting and more vibrant than the one you do. That novel, the imaginary one, the eternal multiplicative one, is like a flawless diamond.
Me: *kicks your shin*
You: Jeeeessssss, owy.
Me: I guess it wasn't the shoes that were hateful. It's my feet. My violent, angry feet.
You: You said the unwritten novel was perfect.
Me: It is! In your mind. And you can always go and tell people, Oh, I'm writing a novel, and they'll mmm and ohhh and they might even look impressed and if that's all you want -- the illusion of writing, the acknowledged potential of writing -- hey go on and keep pretending to write that novel. But for my mileage, I'd rather have an imperfect story penned in blood and coaldust than the gleaming perfect unicorn fart that lives inside my head.
You: Unicorn farts live inside your head?
Next column: More fears to Overcome.
My point ol' wonderful student and WRITER- Just write.
That’s right. Just write.
Sit down and write the first 3 paragraphs or scenes tonight and then repeat tomorrow.
Classes start in Jan 2014
You got a lot of work to do!!