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Posts Tagged ‘experience’

 

Take note, it’s our job to listen and our job to learn,

to follow where life leads, around every turn.

It’s our job to see the world with a curious eye,

to dissect and analyse and find out why.

It’s our job to hear what hasn’t been said,

from a look or a nod or a pat on the head.

It’s our job to pause and smell the fresh air,

ahhh … a trigger of memories everywhere.

It’s our job to taste life’s luxuries, to absorb its flavour,

to be present and focussed, so our lives we can savour.

It’s our job to accumulate, then blend it to share,

a part of who we are, our souls laid bare.

Take a sprinkle of imagination, and add your experience with a shake,

let your ideas cultivate your soul and words your destiny make.

So, note the green at your feet or the blue of the sky,

feel the wind on your face, observe the plane up high.

Note the expression from a child, ‘Where is my dad?’

a mum’s lonely silence … an ache to fix their sad.

Note the idle conversation to keep issues at bay,

from a new forbidden passion, a couple’s love gone astray.

Note a twinkling of a star, to the rising of the sun,

from the mundane activity, to a child having fun.

Note the sparkle of a rainbow, the gentle kiss of snow,

the churning of the sea, a full-moon glow.

From mountains and valleys, from places hot and cold,

learn who you are from the young to the old.

So take note of it all, it’s the little things to observe,

and note-take this advice for your legacy to preserve.

 

 

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Do you write for yourself? Or, do you write for your readers?

Most writers, especially fiction writers, will tell you to write for yourself. If the story presents itself, or if you’ve got something inside that’s bursting to get out, then write it. If you try to write for your readers or publishers or fame and fortune, then you will lose that authenticity that is you, and chances are the book won’t do very well. Remember, you are the secret ingredient to making your work a success. Without your essence, your experiences, your feelings, your DNA, your work won’t mould together and come to life.

At my local library a panel of authors came together to advertise their books and to do book signings. Of the six authors, one was experienced with multiple books published, while the rest were first time self-published authors, and it showed. While the newbies shamefully plugged their merchandise like it was the revolutionary steak-knife-set, urging the modest crowd to trust and buy their product, the experienced author was measured and calm. The first timers hogged the microphone, spruiking their sales pitches, camouflaging their pleading with fake smiles, and it did nothing more than to turn me away—coming across lifeless and boring and desperate and instantly uninteresting, and sadly their books with their bold covers and interesting titles, did the same.

Now, hold on, hold on a minute! I’m not judging a book by its cover, okay. I’m judging it by its author … there’s a difference.

Now back to my guy. His words were injected with gratitude and passion for being a writer, and he voiced the daily struggle of fear and self doubt that plagues a job that requires you to write, write, write. He offered insights to his approach to the craft, the hurdles and the joys of writing for himself. He didn’t seem to care whether he made a single sale on his book, because at the end of the day that’s not what really matters, right? Creating and discovering, pondering and analysing, critiquing and polishing a humble idea to print and then offering it to readers is the reward. Well it should be. Love, enthusiasm and a positive energy always reflects admirably in your work and it certainly will in your sales.

So, my point is this … Write for yourself. You have to have passion for what you do. If you have passion for how much you’re going to make, then you’ll forever be trying to sell your work. Be professional. If you do book signings and publicity, talk about the craft, your idea and about your approach in trying to capture that idea. Don’t try and sell your idea to your readers. If you have the book in hand, then your idea has already been sold. If you’re passionate about your work and about writing then everything about you becomes interesting, and the writing will speak for itself.

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‘Listen up!’ The noise stopped immediately and the students settled. Mr. Mathews pointed a finger at the white-board where he had scribbled in his bold messy fashion, Write What You Know!

‘Most writers would have heard that line in their quest to learn the craft of writing,’ he began, ‘especially fictional writing, and to me there is no other rule that even comes close to challenging that from top spot. Every writer should write what they know or you will never write anything substantial or worth believing.’ He swept his eyes across the room. ‘So, Writer, what do you know?’

A hand shot up. ‘But, Sir …,’ there was a pause as Mr. Mathews located the challenger. The class waited with anticipation. It was, who else but Eager Beaver Ben with a question. He always had questions, and Mr. Mathews would always handle them respectfully, saying that all questions were worthy of a decent answer and the more you questioned, the more you grew.

‘Yes, Ben,’ Mr. Mathews said, a faint smile, barely visible through the scruff of his white beard, curling his lips.

‘Does that mean we can’t write science fiction, fantasy or historical novels?’

‘On the contrary,’ Mr. Mathews countered. ‘Your imagination is your greatest asset in creating work. But your imagination is made up of your experiences and feelings, combined with a touch of magic that is uniquely from you. So, to write well you need to write what you know, and if you are going to write science fiction or historical novels, even if you haven’t been into space or fought in wars, you can always research, do your homework and learn all the facts. If you are going to write fantasy, then know your imagination; know the world you are creating intimately so that what you imagine becomes your reality and what you know. If you are going to write about love, then know what love is.’

‘The only thing we truly know is the experiences that we have lived and learned and the feelings associated with those experiences. It is precisely what readers want to experience. Readers want to believe what you write and want to experience a different life through you and your characters, because the issues we face, fact or fictional, are all relatable in our journey of life.’

‘So live and learn, question and grow, and experience and feel. Writing is ultimately about truth. If you can write your experiences with feeling, the rest is easy … that much I do know. Class dismissed.’

Do you agree with the statement Mr. Mathews’ made?

 

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Are you an over analyser?

Are you constantly examining and cross examining everything with everything? Is the fear of not being perfect, or being rejected stopping you from going freely out into the universe to live? Or, is questioning everything your tool of depriving others of being able to experience you—to stop them at the door of You so they can never take a step in and see all of you completely?

Well, stop it!

Don’t get me wrong, analysing is good, and as a writer very much encouraged. You need an analytical mind to dissect the intricacy of life as a whole, so you can recreate it on the page with your prose, so you can invent new stories as true to life as you’ve observed, so you can try to perfect nuances with character, dialogue and emotion.

But over analysing is bad. Over analysing and over working your ideas can turn even a great piece of writing bad. Sometimes what is raw or untouched sparkles more than what is polished. Sometimes simple and plain is more beautiful than you could ever imagine. And sometimes you just have to accept things as they are, to let things be and let things go. Everything is a learning experience, so allow yourself to experience everything. Know that you are your harshest critic, and understand that sometimes your work will never be perfect because you won’t ever let it be perfect. So stop over analysing! Less is most certainly more!

Are you an over analyser?

 

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At this point in my writing life I am comfortable with the experience. Sure it’s hard work and all consuming, emotionally draining, at times un-rewarding, seemingly endless and sometimes downright frustrating. But between the grey of dark cloud there is light, and from the fierceness of a storm there is sanctuary, and from the downpour of rain there is shelter.

Only by pushing through—by keeping on or by soaring above—do you see golden colour, do you appreciate calm, and bask in warmth. Keep going. Reflect always, analyse often, but never stop looking ahead. Your dreams await you.

Keep writing. Don’t ever stop. Forge through the grind of repetitive routine to bring characters to life, worlds to attention and stories that only you can tell to make a difference. Use your words to entertain, to bring happiness to those who can’t bear to smile, to help others laugh, to distract amidst adversity, to sympathise or uplift during sorrow, to bring understanding or evoke thought, to bring joy and light to darkened corners, to express love to someone, and to show the essence of you. What a gift! Only you can do this. Your words are the lifeline that somebody hopes for, words they need to cling to for safety or fulfilment, words to help transport or escape—words that can change lives.

 

Tell me your writing experiences.

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