Thinking About Writing, Needle in a Haystack Syndrome.

I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life. Other than my poetry book and one poem a magazine that’s the extent of my published efforts.

I’ve read hundreds of books on writing (I have a collection of about 400 books and audio and video). I’m not sure I’m any wiser or more competent at writing.

I’ve done degree level courses and workshops.

What I realise now that most of that time (thousands of hours) I have spent on the studying and thinking has essentially been wasted and I should have spent that time writing.

Some advice is necessary to help improve your skills but the practice of writing is primary. Don’t keep searching for a silver bullet of Holy Grail. There not in that advice.

Take a book like Stephen King’s On Writing or Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and run with that either until you exhaust the application of advice or you need something fresh. There are as many ways to write as there are writers and your job is to find, by writing, what your way is.

Giving Advice Seems To Be Easier Than Taking It.

I have no knowledge of where you are in your writing journey. Perhaps you read lots of craft books, or maybe you’ve done a course or two. You might like the monthly writing magazines that appear in your local newsagent. The internet is also a vast source of writing information, some good, some not so good.

Then you also probably find that you do a small amount of writing. And everything is wrong. You’ve overloaded with too much info and lots of it is conflicting. But there is one sure fired way to get better at writing and that’s to find a model of writing you want to emulate because it’s good and then write like that and compare what you write to your model. Write, compare, and repeat. Do this often enough you will become better. It’s like learning anything. Want to play the guitar then practice appropriately and often with a good model and correct, and repeat.

Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool in their book PEAK Secrets from The New Science of Expertise on page 155 They outline how, without a teacher, Benjamin Franklin studied and emulated what he considered good writing by practicing and comparing his own work with his selected model from The Spectator magazine of his day.

So if you need a slogan, as we say in Scotland, then here it is:

Writers write!

Writers Write!

The thing  about writing is that you have  to write. It’s strange to think that most people miss this point including myself.

If you want to get any body of work built up you (me) have to write something and rewrite to improve your (my) work?

Words are the Instruments of Thought.

I can think in my head how wonderful I am. But like all of us, I over estimate my own capabilities.

I find that putting the thoughts onto paper or a screen forces me to think through the ideas.

In black and white these thoughts are not as great as I had perceived.

Sometimes however the words are magical and rich. That’s why I write. That’s why we all must write. It slows you down. It allows you to clarify your thinking. Develop an authentic voice.

I Walk The Great Circle

My interests move from one thing to another seeking out meaning and stimulation. Reading, journaling, thinking, working – earning a “living” in a very conventional way. Forgetting and then remembering the activities that enthralled and raised one’s passion for life and the world.

I have returned to my writing after an extended absence. I hope to bring more here, soon.

Write in your native language be that English, Scots, American, etc.

We can get caught up in writing the Queen’s English or The President’s Argot, but why not be comfortable in the language of your locale.

I was dragged up speaking Scots.  Some say it’s a dialect of English but it has now, rightly in my opinion, been recognised as a language in its own right.

The words and phrases of my youth have a resonance different from the formality of this standard English. Fash, egjit, numptie, scunner, and a whole language more.

Go back to the patois or creole of your  childhood.

Let emotions rip.

This post was previously published on another blog of mine which is going dark.

Any writing you do counts.

No matter what you write about, no matter how long or short, try to make it good.

Wonderful if you can make it great.

But remember that your lifetime is finite so don’t waste it on dross.

This post was previously published on another blog of mine which is going dark.