Friday, June 19, 2015
Listening to advice is completely different to following that advice...
Inside the world of Authordom there are many, many people that will offer advice, most without being asked for it. As a new, up & coming author there is often the temptation to blindly follow advice given by successful authors, after all if it worked for them.....
Well, I'm going to disagree with this (to a degree). For me writing is a very personal thing, it is a selfish passion. I don't know where the story's come from, how they get into my head, but when they arrive, they arrive with a forceful presence that insists on making it onto the page. This is my world, I can make anyone do anything in the story, an alternative reality - if you haven't written a book you will have no idea of just how much fun that can be. I've heard some people refer to a book as 'art' - I'm not entirely sure that this is accurate, it's certainly not the way I feel, but that's just my personal opinion. However, a story should be very personal to the author; I don't see how an author can expect a reader to invest emotionally in a story if the author hasn't invested the emotion in the writing. My point is that, similar to a painting, it is the individuality of the artist that makes or breaks the painting; it is expressive, an extension of the person, a physical representation of the imagination - and that is why I disagree with blindly following others that have enjoyed a degree of success.
Yes, there are some base rules BUT to quote Tara Moss (taramoss.com/category/books/) "Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.”
Sometimes there is advice that resonates to the point of vibration, an extension of your own deepest beliefs, Joss Whedon's quote is one such piece of advice:-
“You either have to write or you shouldn’t be writing. That’s all.” ― Joss Whedon
When asked to share advice, Tina Frey offered the following:
“It’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it…You have to let people see what you wrote.”
Again, I have to agree. It is a big issue with some authors, normally associated with those that refer to their book as their 'baby'. Accept the basic fact that not everyone is going to like your book. It is pointless trying to change the mind of a reviewer, they've formed their opinion based on their own thoughts (ideally), if they don't agree with yours, so what? Let it go people.
An interesting pearl of wisdom from an American authoress, Joyce Carol Oates, published since 1963, suggests "Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” ― Joyce Carol Oates Yep, gets my vote too.
For my favourite of all I go back to Tara Moss,
“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one...” ― Tara Moss
In my head I am writing pretty much all of the time, but unfortunately my day job would take umbrage if I just sat and wrote in their time. I don't have the opportunity to write, write and write, and strangely enough I think this is a good thing. I love writing, I love the whole experience at a granular level, but it's my escapism, my place to go to get away from the real world. To the surprise of some, my day job requires a degree of brain strain, thinking on a technical level. If we presume that the day job is the leash on my mind, writing brings the euphoria like being released into a field to run around. But if I lived in that field I'd never be able to capture that euphoria again.
Anyway, there are some other advisory jewels offered in the full piece, but remember these are other people, with their own advice. Writing is all about letting your self be true to yourself.
I hope some of it helps.