I’ve always wanted to, in fact I’m sure there’s a post somewhere in the not-so-deep depths of my archives that talks about this (whether on this blog or on the other four blogs I started in my youth (“in my youth.” Now there’s a funny phrase for someone my age to say)). Last January I went on a retreat that changed my outlook on my life, and confirmed for me that writing is going to be part of how God moves through me in my life.
Cool. So now what?
I’ve been putting this on the back burner for a while now. The last published post I’ve written was weeks ago, not to mention my creative writing blog has been… well, “dusty” (even in the midst of taking a fiction writing class… I should share details on that). Not because I have less of a reason to write, but rather because I have less to write about. Well, less to write about that I have deemed “reader-worthy.”
You see, I’m very hard on myself, a fact that has taken me a long time to identify, and even longer to accept. This makes writing a struggle. I’d tell you how many drafts I have either saved or deleted completely because I didn’t think them worth posting, but I’d probably either get the number wrong or make you think me crazy. Well, my friends often tell me I’m crazy, but I think I can put off accepting that one for a while yet.
In any case, one tip that I’ve heard so many times over is to keep writing. To fail at writing. To write so badly that even your own mother won’t read it “just to make you feel better.” As unfortunate as it is, writers learn best from the School of Hard Knocks. We learn how to appeal to an audience after the audience tells us what they don’t like. Because while we may write things that humans relate to (as we are all human (or are we dancer?)) we are not mind readers. That is something we learn from feedback. Good feedback, for a writer, is criticism. Constructive, or not so constructive. As long as a majority of people you trust say its bad, or a lot of random people from your selected audience say it’s bad, then it’s bad. Start over. Do it again. But better.
I hate that. I like to think that I can edit my own writing so that by the time it’s read I don’t have to deal with the criticism. Mostly because I take things very personally when it comes to things that have flown from the creative side of my brain. Well, really any side of my brain; I’m not even going to start with how I feel when someone thinks I’m stupid. I’m working on that, I promise. Mostly because it affects how I learn, and it cages me into always being nervous when presenting my work, or an idea, or something that comes from myself that is now vulnerable to the judgments of those around me, most of whom I don’t trust to not let this one thing change their overall view of me.
But I’m going to try. You know, that whole “New Year’s Resolution” shpeel that most blog writers have to “write everyday.” ‘Cept I’m a couple months late, which makes me feel totally hipster (that’s a joke, by the way). But I thought it’d be nice to warn you that ramblings of nothing but crap may turn up for the next few months. Years, maybe. You know, a PSA type thing.
Any advice would be nice, though I would like to direct your attention to this blog post, 33 Unusual Tips from a writer at the Thought Catalog (a fantastic blog that everyone should read in order to become that much more intelligent (it was also my inspiration for this post)). Though I don’t follow each of them, I see the qualities that I want in my writing, so I’ll be piggybacking off of that.
In addition to my new found desire to be critiqued, I’m finally linking this blog to my writing blog (so please don’t hate so hard on it ^^;). I’ve always kept them separate because it’s easier for me to put my thoughts out there than my creative writing. Why? I don’t know, I’m trying not to be so psychoanalytic about myself at the moment because that always leads to too much thinking and not enough doing. But yeah, that’s there now too, ready to be smacked down. I mean, compliments work to0, if they’re well merited.
Lesson of the day: Growth only happens when the shell of the seed is broken, when the walls of the city are torn down, when the butterfly’s cocoon is opened, and when one turns around from the cave wall. The first step, of course, is to see what needs to be changed.