What Do You Want to Write?

What story do you want to tell?

Everyone has a story to tell, and only you can tell it in your voice, no matter how skilled a mimic someone might become. I’ve already said ‘don’t write for the money’, but you’ll hear me harp on that and many other subjects over and over until it’s reverberating in your skull. Why? That’s simple, because you’re the writer, the one with a story to tell, and the focus that you need to gather around before you start expanding your awareness to those that are ready to hear the same tale. It sounds vague and a little off-key, doesn’t it? But the truth is if you want to write, you’ll listen to the crazy just as much as the rational side of your mind since creating harmony between the two is sometimes essential to make this process work.

You’ve got a story to tell, right? You might as well make it interesting and let both sides of your personality, or all sides, have their say from time to time.

Are you a poet or a novelist?

So, you have a way with words, yeah? What way is that? Do you like to rhyme, do you feel a cadence within each word that has to be adhered to and/or applied in a manner that makes sense as you lead people down your path? Or are you the type to take an idea and guide people down the twisting highways of your imagination? A person can do both, but the strain that’s bound to come is going to be immense after a while since different styles of writing demand a lot and the respect due to each style is great enough that one should take the time to understand what they’re trying to accomplish. If you’re into telling epic tales that people will want to keep reading, then a short story, a novella, or a novel might be the best way to go. But if you can tell a story in a few lines of poetry then congrats, you’ve mastered another skill that is exceedingly tough.

Which style is more discerning? Well, that’s complicated, especially since according to many people, there are many different styles to adhere to, methods to apply, and techniques that will allow you to write in a manner that will attract the notice of those who will gladly pay you for your works. If I could roll my eyes on the page at the moment I would be, trust me. But, moving on.

There are hurdles to get past.

You’re not going to be a fantastic, best-selling writer from the start, just get that idea out of your head right now. If you do find success easily and without struggle, then I do feel sorry for you, since much like the life of a musician or an actor, adversity helps writers to get better at their craft, to hone their skills, and to find the necessary emotion to put into their works so that people will FEEL what they’re talking about and really get into the idea of what’s been written. Those who find success early and easily, sorry, but you might have the right connections to make it happen; it doesn’t mean you have the talent to sustain a long-lasting career. Remember Eragon? Everyone thought that kid was amazing for turning in a series at such a young age. But the trouble is that by taking elements from other stories in such a manner, one becomes a copycat, which is only a step up from being a plagiarist, and while his story became popular, it’s more of a testament to how fickle the fans are than to how great his work was or wasn’t.

Like it or not, you’ll have to get better at writing, you’ll need to listen to critiques, you’ll have to rewrite parts of your great works, and if you want to get noticed, you’ll have to work for it. This profession isn’t easy, it’s not kind, and it’s not about to see you succeed unless you’re willing to tear yourself apart and rebuild to get where you want to be. You might be a talented writer, but if you want to be a successful writer, you’ll have to work harder than you ever have before.

Write for you, then write for others.

This is one point that I will always give out for free since it’s one of the best ways to go when it comes to writing. Write what you like, write for yourself, and make sure that you like what you’re writing. This is you, this is your life, your mind, your thoughts and hopes that are spilling onto the page. If you don’t like it, how is anyone else supposed to?

The truth is that not everyone will like what you write. Face that, get over it, and understand that you can’t please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. Shoot, if you’ve worked in food service or retail you should already know that much. But write what you want, write what makes you happy, and if people give you ideas on how to improve and how to make it better, at least give them them the time of day and listen. They’re not making demands, they’re simply telling you what might work and what they think your writing could benefit from.

Be happy in what you do, but be willing to listen to ways that might make it better. That’s one way you become a better writer, and how you learn to become a great writer. Write what you want, and then make it better.

Writing is Important to Society. But Why?

From writing out your grocery list to creating an epic tale, society depends heavily on writing.

The ability to write is far more important than some folks are willing to admit since using the symbols we call numbers and letters into stories that have meaning and emotional content is how civilization has been built. Writing, much like mathematics, is a part of everything in a very fundamental way. While math might exist without words in every facet of nature, writing is the method by which we connect one facet of life to another as we seek to give meaning to the world in which we exist. To put it simply, writing is another form of communication that keeps people together and forms a foundation that can be built upon.

Oral Communication vs. The Written Word

When one thinks about it, quite a bit of human history, from culture and tradition to simple facets of life that are important for survival, were at one time handed down orally from one person to another. The only problem with this is that at one point, even the most astute storyteller will start to forget pertinent facts. The human mind is vast and can contain a myriad of facts and data, but at some point, the flesh and blood organ between our ears will wear out and show its limits. The written word is a means by which people have been able to convey meaning to one another in one way or another. By this method, humanity has built a foundation that has existed for far longer than anyone can recall.

If one looks back across the vastness of history they’ll realize that writing has influenced a great many things that have come to pass, and continues to do so. Without getting too deep into the subject, writing is how we mark our history, the passing of years, and the many occurrences that people deem to be important to the continued evolution of humankind. Writing is how we continue to build, to change, and to evolve. Without it, we become ignorant of our own history, and without knowledge of the past or the present, it’s possible that civilization would break down in a very big way.

What does writing mean to you?

A lot of people don’t take into account what writing really means or why it’s important to start with. Some folks are raised with their eyes virtually glued to a TV screen or a device that can give them instant gratification whenever they want it. But guess what? Writing is still involved. Whether it’s a snippet or a full-length novel, or something even more grandiose in nature, writing is at the heart of it, because it is needed, it is sometimes required, and it is a method that humanity requires to communicate in several different ways.

Writing is important because it helps to remind us who we are, who we’ve been, and who we might yet become.

Don’t Look for the Dollar Signs, Just Write

Tell your story before you worry about padding your bank account.

I’ve heard it more than once that everyone is seeking those dollar signs and are ready and willing to do what they want to make sure that their account grows along with their acclaim. I might be a sucker, I might be a fool, but one thing I know I’m not is a sellout, since I’ll tell my story in the hopes that people will enjoy it, and that it will inspire others to do something great. I’m not an idealist, and I’m not foolish enough to think that living without pay and writing without wanting to become known is the ultimate goal. But if all you’re writing for is the money you might as well own up to it and make it known that your stories are little more than minor variations on a mold that was made a long time ago. Be fair to yourself and your readers and be original.

Money is important, there’s no doubt.

It’s important to make money to survive, there’s no doubt of that, especially since people need to pay their bills, they need to eat, they need to support their family and so on. But if money is the only drive you have when it comes to writing then there’s something missing. People might scoff at the idea that passion is that important, but one has to remember that people who read your material, if they’re in need of a great story, will know when someone is dialing it in versus when they dig deep deep and seek to tell a story that will last. Passion is what separates the great stories from those are trying to make a few bucks.

I know, people who make the big bucks and those who support them are going to counter with the idea that if one makes the money, then there’s no reason to keep up that type of passion, especially the type that can wear a person out. That’s kind of like riding a wave with the idea that it’s going to last forever, without seeing that rocky shore come closer and closer. Passion doesn’t keep you off the rocks, but it sure as hell teaches you how to dodge, evade, and navigate a landscape that’s ready and willing to tear apart any writer that doesn’t know how to handle the pitfalls that come with writing.

Here endeth the sermon…for now.

You want to write? You want to make money? Then reach down deep and find the passion you need to make it happen. Change as you feel the need, not just when people tell you to. Adjust, evolve, adapt, and keep the passion that brought you to this game. The moment you search for dollar signs is the moment that you lose sight of what it is you’re all about. Your writing is meant to show your state of mind and how you want to speak to the people. Accept the money if it comes, use it to your advantage, but my advice is to keep that passion for as long as it lasts. The money will come if it’s meant to, and if you learn how to make flow.

Write, just write, and let the money come if it will.

Existing In the Middle

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Oh people, our world is split down the middle it seems, at least on some days. But at the same time many people insist that being in the middle is only for those that want to be torn apart by those that will condemn them for being complacent enough to not choose a side. In other words, if you’re not for one side or the other, there are plenty of people that are willing to assume you’re supporting the opposing side either through your silence or because you just don’t care.

Sigh.

The middle is, quite honestly, where people want to make a difference while still holding onto the things that work. It’s where those of us that exist in relative peace with one another are willing to move forward based on our differences and how we can find similarities that can offset them in an effort to make our society work. It’s where people go that want to live their lives rather than get triggered over the slightest insult or become enraged by the imagined slights that the world has offered them.

Bad things have happened in this world, bad things still happen, and there’s no denying that our history as human beings involves us doing horrible things to one another in the past and even now. But the middle is where you go to find a solution, while the right and the left are where you go in order to blame the other side for this or that without being willing to find a compromise of any sort. The left and the right are where a person can go to shed all responsibility for their own actions, decisions, and beliefs while condemning the other side for their lack of insight into their way of life.

You know what else the middle is for? We get to live our lives and laugh at the left and right as they try to make the world a better place in their own image, taking one step for every four or five that they fall back.

It’s damned hilarious some days.