As writers, we all understand the value of reading. It turns the wheels of our imagination and motivates the artist in us who has been trapped in a cubicle for eight hours to move into open air. Reading is the other joy of writing, the first one. I’ll be honest though, when it comes to putting my words on paper after reading a good book, I just can’t seem to do it. It’s like walking into a Baskin Robbins already knowing what flavor you want and when you get there, you can no longer decide with all the other temptations. When I close the book, I know what I wanted to write. When I open my own, it’s stuck somewhere between brain and my fingers.
I don’t know if this common with new writers or if this is something I will forever be fighting. Eventually, the words get where they should be. In the bad first draft, then the revision, the polishing, the editing and finally, something I have yet to experience, the perfection. I once read that someone else’s journey isn’t yours. I’ve read about novelists who do it perfectly the first time, not many, but they’re out there. Some who do lousy first drafts and then change it all during the second draft even to point of setting and gender being different. Sometimes in an effort just to keep the flow, I’ll write lousy words for good ideas and come back later.
I understand that we’re all unique, not just in our style, but in how we work too. Knowing that takes the pressure off of being perfect. Freedom to suck as a writer brings back the fun that made me want to do this in the first place. That, a good book and a strong cup of coffee, gives me the inspiration I need to keep writing.
27 March 27, 2019
In college, bonding moments as new writers always include the awkwardness of our prose, the lack of detail in our settings, the shallowness of our characters. In my courses so far, I’ve found I’m not alone in learning to build my character into a likeable person that someone else wants to read about, but I’m encouraged when I read someone else’s work and find they’re struggling equally with that same thing. But outside of the classroom, it’s different. Not because there aren’t new writers that are struggling with the same thing I am but because I’m not looking for them. I love to read the short conversations on Twitter from those that I follow and those who have been kind enough to follow me. But I’m a bit terrified that if I move beyond those short conversations, I’ll find I have no talent as a writer and whoever I read will have the same years I have, the same experience I have but they don’t suck, whereas I do.
I think as a writer, the one thing easier than all is to allow your lack of confidence to throw that brick wall in the way and make it look intimidating. How did that damn thing get there anyway? I have to remember, it’s an illusion, one that has no substance. I have to walk through that mirage of self-doubt and not look back. No one starts out a genius, even prodigies have to learn. I may be a late bloomer and maybe even a slow learner, but I made it to college, I know what to do at work and somehow I managed to become a grandmother. I’m not perfect, granted, but I have one thing under my belt I can take pride it. I’m no quitter. And I will get there.
15 February 2019
Every writer needs a good jolt of imagination. I love an edge of your seat suspense novel as much as I love a sweet kiss between an awkward teenage protagonist and his finally won love. Although I write fantasy, I read everything, even the old classics. It’s the characters and the prose that draw me and keep me. And good micro fiction is as fun as a thick Stephen King novel.
I don’t know how other writers do it, but I tend to read more than one work at a time. It generally depends on my mood. Some days, I need to read anything that will scare me. It isn’t always at Halloween, but the expectation can be an influence. Last year I ordered a book of short ghost stories. New Ghost Stories III, from the Fiction Desk. Every so many weeks, when I’ve finished a good novel, a good short story keeps my blood flowing. This collection does exactly that. The authors are writers I’ve never heard of (I’m guessing some, if not all, are from the UK), but all of them have a talent for building suspense in a condensed work. The best thing about these stories is that none of them required the graphic violence that so many writers have thought it necessary to appease readers. They are simple, well written, ghost stories and although some of the endings are implied death, the charm of most of them is that they are frightening only in the imagination of the reader, not the detailed gore of the author.
This is an anthology I highly recommend, especially if you love being frightened occasionally. I’ve posted the address where you can get a copy below. The cost is about $13.00 in American dollars. I’m not sure if that includes shipping. I hope you all get a copy. It’s worth the reading.