Saturday, January 16, 2016

Writers Write

The other day there was a big kerfuffle on twitter about a Neil Gaiman tweet. His tweet was at its heart trying to promote the value of the Clarion workshop. People saw it as an attack on all writers who don't want to or aren't able to participate in it. I'm not here to argue his intentions which are most likely altruistic in nature. Gaiman is quite capable of defending himself. I want to address something else... that tumor on the side of your neck. I mean writing. Yes..  writing. Definitely writing. *side eyes tumor*


Workshops like the one put on by Clarion are tools. A pen, keyboard, computerbox, piece of chalk, notepad, thesaurus, grammar websites, and so on are all physical tools. Workshops, writer groups, beta readers, reader feedback, etc. are all tools as well. Anything you can use to help you write or help to improve your writing is a tool. So, yes if you are a serious writer then you want all the tools that will fit in your box. Now this doesn't mean that you aren't a real writer if you neglect a tool or can't use a specific tool because the Loch Ness Monster stole it.

Writers also don't want to bury themselves in tools. Too much information can hurt! Especially when a lot of the advice and hard "rules" can contradict themselves. It can be as frustrating as watching political parties slap box over a gum wrapper. You can't implement everything, so what can you do as a writer?

Try them all out. Keep what works, build a glorious bonfire with the rest. A bonfire so large that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man will bring graham crackers and chocolate to the party. Tools are meant to help you along in your journey. There is no need to cling to one bit of advice, rule, or writing implement that isn't helpful. Toss the ones you don't like out. Let Oscar the Grouch play with them.


Write like your fingers are possessed by demons who have something to say about the world switching over to an economy based on PEZ. Write and write then write some more. This is what writers do. They write. On paper, napkins, with a stick in the mud, using a laptop, in blood on the men's bathroom stall at Denny's... whatever method you can use to write, just do it already!

The best thing that you can do as a writer is to keep writing. That is why I am typing this right now on this blog. Sure I manage to share some small pieces of magic along the way, but this is my practice. Writing is just like any other mental or physical activity. The more you do it the better you get at it. I type faster, write faster, have more accuracy, and require less time to edit afterwards. All of this is possible because of a blood ritual that I'm not supposed to talk about... uh... and practice.

If you are worried about being a REAL writer then STOP. Write instead. Real writers write and then write some more. All you need to be a real writer are the tools that you have available and the time to put words down. No excuses, just words. Now as for that tumor...  seriously it's talking to me. Maybe I should stop taking hallucinogens.

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