Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You Can't Force Words to Cooperate

I watched a live interview yesterday with an author I've liked for a while now. His writing is smooth and entertaining (in my opinion) and I enjoy the world he built for his stories.  Mr. Brooks said something during his interview that made me "A-Ha!"  Basically it was that a good story can't be forced. It needs to be allowed to grow.

As a writer, one must put their fingers to the keyboard regularly, no doubt about that, but I think too many writers get frustrated when session after session of fingers on the keyboard doesn't carry their story ahead at lightning speed. I've seen good authors get frustrated and figure they mustn't be good enough since their efforts weren't working like they thought they should. I find that sad.

I've had the experience of having a story take off at lightning speed and become a full novel written in just a couple of months. It was amazing. I absolutely loved the characters and events.

I've also had the experience of writing a story that felt more like pulling out each of my teeth with a pair of pliers.

I finished all the stories, or morphed it into a new story. But the important part was that I finished them, no matter how long it took.

How did I make it through with pulling my teeth (figuratively speaking, of course)?  I wrote each day that I could, but I didn't always write in the difficult book. Sometimes I had to let it stew while I focused on doing research or writing something completely different.

Most writing advice is adamant that a writer write and write and write the story until they reach the end, and they should be able to write pages of good stuff every day. Some even hint to the fact that if you don't do that, you can't be a "real" author.

Don't get me wrong, the writing profession is anything but easy. It is painstaking work to wrangle words into a perfect order to create your world and your characters. My point with writing this blog is that sometimes it doesn't happen like all the writing advice articles and books and even creative writing professors say. Sometimes a writer just has to let a certain work grow at its own pace and let it bloom all on its own.  That is the magic of writing, watching something take shape on the paper as it pours through your fingertips. The key is not to get frustrated or disheartened when creating that magic becomes a marathon up a mountain.

Remember that each writer is different. Despite the multitudes of articles and writing lessons out there stating what schedule or technique is best, only you will know what schedule or technique works for you. Once you find it, that's the perfect one for you, even if it goes against all the rules.

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