When I quit smoking everyone I knew still smoked. I didn’t have to buy a pack for the temptation find me. A friend would see me standing with my hands in my pockets and wave a cigarette in front of my lips. I didn’t have to ask for it. Hell, I didn’t even have to light it. As far as they were concerned, I looked wrong without it.
I was the type of smoker other smokers pointed to and said, “At least I’m not as bad as him.” Continue reading What Writing a Novel and Quitting Smoking have in Common →
Writer’s block doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes obstructions fall into our path. One of the most difficult challenges writers face is when real life drama proves more compelling than our dramatic narratives. I’ve blogged about how it’s hard to keep our memoirs out of our fiction. Sometimes it’s harder to keep our minds clear enough to leave a figment for our imaginations. Continue reading How to Keep Intrusive Thoughts from Ruining Your Writing →
Is there something wrong with perpetuating superstition through fiction?
The Power of Urban Legends
There’s a reason I put off getting my hair cut until the sides grow into big Wolverine spikes. I get nervous about the conversation with the hairdresser. I don’t like sitting in silence while the client next to me is laughing. I like to take on the appearance of a sociable well adjusted human being, if only for the time it takes to get my bangs trimmed. So I prepare material: funny memories I try to pass off as something that happened recently, news stories that aren’t politically polarizing, and list of the most recent films I’ve seen.
If I cycle through all my conversation starters and the hairdresser says, “You know I’m really not that into movies.” Then the weather better be doing something incredible, because there goes most of my material. Continue reading Do Writers Have any Responsibilities to Reality? →
I’ve blogged at length about how a writer’s life experience can improve their fiction, but I haven’t written on how the reverse is true, how fantasy can improve a writer’s reality. If the responsibility of writing weighs you down use it as an excuse to go outside and do something.
A Life Worth Commenting On
In screenwriting class our professor had us keep a journal, a place to document our fears. It was not a diary. It was a tool for scene building, a method for adding authenticity to atmospheric descriptions. We were to venture into unknown territory and write about it, to find a place that put us on edge, where the adrenaline heightened our senses, so we could chronicle everything we felt. Continue reading How to Keep Writing From Weighing Your Life Down →
There are a lot of quotes on writing in need of correction, like this one:
If writing isn’t fun don’t do it.
If writing isn’t fun
don’t do it. do it anyway.
You’ve probably heard this old chestnut:
If you don’t think writing is fun you’re not cut out for it.
don’t think expect writing is to be fun all the time you’re not cut out for it. Continue reading How to Write With Your Back Against the Wall →