“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Clever boy, that Oscar! Being yourself is at the heart of writing dangerously isn’t it? But this isn’t always easy, as we all know. Sometimes we feel that we’re not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough — the list goes on and on. And so we try become some other kind of writer or adopt someone else’s way of working in the hopes that this will take us where we want to go, even though, in our heart of hearts we know that this is a fool’s game. So let’s not go there! Instead, let’s be:
True to ourselves: let’s write what we feel called to write, even if it’s out of sync with what’s out there. when I first started writing my ya novel someone half-jokingly said to me, “Hey, be sure to throw a vampire into your story!” well I’ve finally completed a full draft and there’s not a vampire anywhere. That was someone’s story, not mine.
True to our way of working: Eudora Welty wrote from 9 to 12 in the morning. Stephen King writes 2500 words a day, every day. Tim Ferris, another successful writer, works from 10 PM to 2 am. every writer has his/her own rituals and style of working, but what they all have in common is discipline, persistence, and consistency. butt in the chair, any which way you can: that’s what counts! so figure out what approach works best for you –and then stick to it.
True to our characters: sometimes we’re tempted to throw in a little of this and a little of that to spice up our stories. but our characters know exactly where they want to go and what they want to do. listen and follow along: they know the way!
True to our dreams: it’s easy to have visions of grandeur while you’re sitting alone at your desk writing. but it’s also easy to get discouraged once you send your story out into the world in search of agents and publishers. somehow, we need to hold onto those visions we had when we first began writing — to stay bold, upbeat, and expansive even when some hard knocks come our way — and they will.
What’s on your list? What else do you think we need to be true to? Write on!