Monday, March 5, 2012
What Writing Is To Me
I recently affirmed to myself how much I enjoy the art of writing. It’s my favorite way of communicating. I like one-way writing, such as writing a book or a newspaper column and not the dialogue style of e-mail. I don’t care for talking to people by phone – though I do it often. Seeing them in person is special but not preferable to writing. Capturing one’s views, ideas, and feelings on paper is orgasmic. I love emptying my brain and then editing or redesigning my creation. Every word I write brings me closer to realizing my dream of changing the world. I imagine a better life in my head and then try to create it on paper.
I live to write. It’s a beautiful craft, one that I never tire of practicing. Words are like units of the ocean or mountains; you can never have enough of them. Writing not only reflects our reality, it encourages it. Writing can be so many things, including therapeutic, artistic, journalistic, historical, or just plain fun. Writing is a means to express, to explore, to dictate, to question, to describe what is, and to create what can be. Writing paints a new picture for us. It is a scene-changer. It is explosive. It is everything I want from life. What is writing for you?
For me, writing is to:
· Record life around us,
· Suggest what life could be like,
· Remind us what life was,
· Inspire others to take action,
· Share feelings and emotions,
· Give a home to ideas, theories and thoughts,
· Describe what may seem undefinable,
· Say so much with so few words,
· Give a forum for opposing viewpoints,
· Measure events, people, institutions, ideas,
· Record the truth,
· Combine the curiosity of a child with the experience of an adult,
· Supply an alternative to reality,
· Raise questions more than give answers,
· Unite people and give credence to a feeling of community and group conscience, and
· Encourage people to think and question, to wonder, contemplate and explore independently.
Interview With Online Book Reviewer Rachel Hadley
As an online book reviewer, what do you like to review? As an online book reviewer I have almost zero preference so long as the book is fictional. I accept both pdf e-books and paperbacks so I am not limited except for the fact I do not yet own a kindle. Personally I am more inclined toward paranormal romance and paperbacks. There really is nothing better than holding a book in your hands, feeling the weight of the book reminds how much time and effort went into such works and helps to appreciate it that little bit more than seeing it on a device. The smell of the paper and the feel of the book all add to the experience.
What do you think makes for a great book? For me a great book has a voice, level of realism, and balance. The voice of the author whether writing in first person or third must flow, should it stagnate the reader can become lost and risk losing interest. You have to think of writing like telling a story aloud in one sitting yet write it over several. Level of realism, if a story is located in the real world, then there should be descriptions that people can relate to, understand themselves, research or even visit. If the story is entirely fictional then try to describe locations in as much detail that they appear real in the readers mind. As well as descriptions of places, people, language and culture can also add to realism, here research is necessary whether online or simply watching society going about each day. Balance is key to keeping readers interested. Too much of one thing can kill a story but balance it out with sub stories such as romance or humor and you can save your novel.
You have published some poems – will you take a crack at doing your own book? Out of 100 poems written I have 3 published, I would like to get these published in a book. I have also written two novels which I am currently editing, one of which was my Nanowrimo story in 2009 of which I completed my 50k word count in the month. I am currently working on my third novel and I have several other story ideas I would like to work on and have published.
What advice do you have for fellow creative types and struggling writers? There is no easy answer, each person is different. I could say always carry a pen and pad but for some people it doesn’t work like that. Many mobile/cell phones these days have applications you can use to type notes or record your voice. I used to use receipts at work.
Others find silence and sitting down at the same time of day works.
Like some writers I enjoy listening to music (without lyrics) I find it helps calm my mind especially when reviewing and if you find the correct piece it can aid you in writing a specific scene.
Reading others works also helps get the creative juices flowing.
Knowledge/Research as well as a handy tool can lead to new avenues. I love the internet and using photobucket to search for images to spark an idea.
The BBCs Sherlock series 2 episode 3 has Sherlock describe his mind as his ‘mind palace’ and this is what I would like to think a writers mind is most similar to. So whatever avenue your mind generates no matter what, follow it, you never know where it can lead you.
You have to decide how much you want this, you may be a good writer but you have got to know when to take a risk even if you’re not normally a risk taker. I am not a big risk taker but if I would have stayed my path I would not have any book reviews, poems or stories to my name at all.
Networking, blogs and newsletters. Gathering as much information as you can from all sources will come in useful. There are a lot of newsletters available but what ones fit you and your niche?
Networking will get your name out there and everyone is helpful, friendly and willing to help as much as they can. Do not be afraid, you can social network just for writing if you want to without sharing every detail of your life. Blogs allow the world to see your unique voice and take on subjects, they also give you a following as well as allow you to experiment with techniques.
Dreams, listen to them, record them, they may just have something of use.
Everyday offers you something no matter how small you just have to learn to look. An understanding of sociology, psychology even anthropology can offer a greater insight into people, life and the reasons behind behavior but ultimately how you use the tools you have available to you and the knowledge and experiences you gain along the way are what will lead to your success.
Critique. Learn to accept no matter what someone somewhere will love your idea and similarly someone will hate it. You cannot please everyone but everyone will critique your work.
It is ok to drop one story and switch to another or to write two at once so long as you know how to separate them from one another.
To plan or not to plan, that is the question and it is really down to you. Some people work best with a plan some don’t. My Nanowrimo novel I wrote without a clue as to what I was writing. You can over think things so be aware of whether you are inclined to be a planner or not, or if you prefer simple note taking whilst writing.
Emotions; utilize them wisely. Anger for example can sometimes produce wonderfully passionate articles or funny blogs.
Writing groups no matter if they’re big or just a handful of writing friends can help you produce new ideas and better the work you have, they get your ideas and work out there and give you real honest feedback.
You can take a writing course, but you don’t have to. At the end of the day you have to be willing to put in the hours, be patient not everyone is JK Rowling or Stephen King and it takes a lot of hard work, networking and studying as much as it does actual writing. But you’ll get there eventually and have a story that you can say you wrote. Never give up just write it, then worry about the editing and publishing.
Where do you think the marketplace is heading for writers these days? With the introduction of new technologies all the time and the recession decimating the retail sector the writing marketplace seems set for being entirely online whether its online stores, or POD sites. With more stores closing by the day and the e-book hype being so positive it really is only a matter of time until smaller bookstores are out of business whilst the larger ones fight to remain open adapting to the changes in technology and following the e-book hype. Publishing is also being effected and there appears to be more writers self publishing each year rather than seeking out publishing houses however more online publishers open to new writers are appearing all the time. In the UK even libraries are fighting to remain open due to funding, if they close this could increase the e-book sales since prices are much cheaper than paperbacks to buy however for those readers who are not computer-literate and do not want to buy every book they could be interested in, this is lost potential sales and fans. At least one generation of readers could be lost with the marketplace shifting entirely online.
Why do you love to write? Firstly, writing allows me to get the initial idea out of my head, silence really is golden but an unwritten idea is like nails on a chalk board until finally you give in. Secondly, I enjoy seeing what paths ideas lead me down and what subjects link together.
Thirdly, it is always nice to escape reality, to drift off into another world where nothing can hurt you and you make up the rules. Sure eventually you’ve got to come back to reality but you can escape whenever you want wherever you want and give the same to others.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.