If you approach online surfing with the mentality of a prospector and sift through content, letting the useless bits fall away (no judgments on the content you derive enjoyment from) the interwebz is packed to the rafters with knowledge, wisdom and lessons. It’s the wise sage of our virtual village.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of the adages that can be applied to your life can also be applied to your everyday writing, be it screen, creative, novel, short story, blogging, etc.
The goal of a post like this isn’t to sugar coat how difficult and torturous writing can be at times, there’s no masking that truth. Your takeaway from this should be that your approach to and mental outlook on writing needs to become a positive thing, if it isn’t already.
“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time”
Unlike Lord Chesterfield, to whom the above quote is attributed, I’m not opposed to multitasking, and I’m sure you’re a marvel at juggling several things at a time, but when you sit down to write, that’s all you should be focused on.
“But,” you say, “I’m a chronic multitasker!” Don’t worry, I’m not trying to strip you of your royal heritage, but it is essential to develop a meditative focus when it comes to act of writing. You’re creating a world, sharing an experience, and/or teaching a lesson to your reader, and they deserve your full attention, don’t they?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained/You only get out of life what you put into it.
What exactly can you put into your writing? The answer to that question is up to you. Hard work, determination, and a positive attitude are a few things that come to mind. Doing the donkey work and writing everyday, come hell or high water, are the breadcrumbs you lay down to attract the muse.
“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” –Richard Bach
You will make mistakes in your writing. That fact is as certain as one day you will die (but not for a long, long, long time, knock wood). All the missteps in tackling a story you couldn’t work out an ending for, creating characters that refuse to talk to you, stories that lie as flat as road kill, and even writing that makes you absolutely retch. Embrace it all. Mistakes are your teachers along the rocky path of becoming a successful writer. To be clear, being successful has nothing to do with publication, sales, or fame. Sure, that stuff’s awful nice to have (great job if you can get it) but satisfying your inner critic is the mark of true success, in my humble opinion.
“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” — Nhat Hanh
Yup, we’re back on that positivity kick again. Why? Because it’s your cheerleader when you absolutely hate your work, your rah-rah section when you’re slogging through difficult writing, and your attaboy when you finally clear the briar patch of a formerly impossible writing task. The responsibility rests upon your shoulders to become your biggest fan throughout all the writing stages–brainstorming, outlining, character development, the draft, and yes, even editing.
I could list others, but I think you get the point and you’re smart enough to figure the rest out on your own. Good luck, and stay positive.
Sally forth and be writeful.
Doin’ the donkey work, eh? 😛
My donkey work is definitely editing…Booooo! Love/hate love/hate love/hate…
Once I’ve bled creatively on the page, all the rest is donkey work to me but the satisfaction of completing a piece tips positive on the love/hate scale.