Friday, November 28, 2014

The Struggle is Real (Advice on Writing)

(For my students who are struggling with their projects. Originally Published 9.25.14)
I sit here having finished two wonderful books (#79 and #80, if you're the kind of person who "counts" these things...) and the last thing in the world I want to do is write about them. 

I'd rather do ANYTHING than write. 

 I'd rather read 4 more books (too bad none sound good).  

I'd rather do laundry (no, no, no, no). 

I'd rather make dinner (but I picked up pizza). 

I'd rather do anything.  but write.  

Except write. 

 I once read that if you can do ANYTHING but be a writer, then definitely follow THAT path.   

I get it. I hate writing. I really do. I hate HAVING to write something, even if is something I assigned MYSELF on a topic I LOVE. Crazy right?  

More than that, I  hate NOT writing. I never  know what I'm going to write next (seriously!) so I  sit in silence (I do!) waiting for whatever story is coming next like a stranger with no watch waiting for a train.

Not a single one of my students who is writing something for me has asked me for writing advice (not. one. thanks*), so I'm going to give it away to you for free, hidden here in plain sight.

 Look away if your eyes are sensitive to the truth. Seriously.

Here it is.

Writing comes after thinking. 

 You can't put something down on paper or in a computer until it exists, and where it has to "form" is in your head. 

 In order to do that, you have to clear your mind, which is not an easy thing in the world of a thousand shiny things and a gazillion  beeps and bings.   

After that, concentrate on one thing -- telling a story that makes sense. 

A story is a bunch of facts that turn into a shape and come together into an invisibly tangibly weightlessly solid mass.  

When you have something to say, something that comes together  you are ready to write. 

The first ten thousand attempts might not work.

Keep trying. 

The struggle is real.