Writer: Find Your True Expression!
Thank you – @SurvivedNarc
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed“.
– Ernest Hemingway.
Skip vanilla donuts!
So, let’s “bleed”, Hemingway style. Why? Simply because it works. I can testify to that, from my personal blog. I noticed that sometimes my posts wouldn’t get that much attention, only a few likes, even fewer comments. I wondered what was wrong. I looked at the text and couldn’t find any major faults with it. The topic was, or at least should be, interesting to many people. The text was neither too short, nor too long. What was wrong with it? Probably not much. Except: it lacked the heart, the blood and the guts. It was bland. It was – a vanilla donut.
Your audience can have a vanilla donut anytime. They chew it up and forget it the next minute. You want to give them the best New York steak they’ve ever had! And you want them to eat it bloody, even if they could never have imagined wanting it that way.
So, I changed everything about my style. Less facts. Less logic. Less explaining. I decided to just sit down and bleed. All my emotions dripped down on the page: raw, unfiltered feelings. And which of my posts are now my most liked and commented? Yes, you guessed it. The heart-on-the-page ones. In a time when so much is fake, commercialized, plastic, has a price tag attached, we need something genuine. People need real.
Something old, something new, something borrowed…
Several times I have read guides for writers telling us to avoid clichés at all cost. And I agree, to a certain extent. But let’s face it. Everything has been done before. Love, hate, jealousy, friendship, greed. Murders. Resurrection. The hero, the anti-hero.
You can find certain themes and story arcs repeating themselves over and over, through the history of literature, all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome.
So: let go of your fear. Yes, another cliché. (Still, blog posts that people write about “Letting go of your fear”, seem mighty popular, in my experience). What I mean is: don’t be afraid of writing clichés. I used to hold that same fear. Until one day I said: “To hell with that”!
I hadn’t written poetry in 17 years. In large part because of the fear that I would only produce tired old clichés. Then suddenly one day, I simply sat down and ignored that fear. The result being quite many poems on my blog. My readers seem to enjoy them. They are not advanced poems, quite the opposite. I use simple words, describing my emotions.
These poems won’t get me any awards. However, aside from appreciation from my readers, the poetry has inspired me, to keep developing my writing. I went from “freestyle” poetry, to trying haiku, as one example. And will keep experimenting, in an effort to get closer to that ever elusive originality. My true voice as a writer. Letting go of that fear has helped me immensely.
Drop that paint brush!
This is about editing. It’s a great tool. You start writing (bleeding) out a draft. You read it. You find a word that doesn’t fit, you replace it. As with everything in life, you work at it until it is “done”. It’s complete. It’s…perfect?
No. It will never be perfect. Perhaps it will be. Perhaps you will only write one book in your entire life. But damn it, that book will be perfect! I think you know what I’m getting at here but I will visualize what I mean, by using an image which has always helped me.
When I was about fifteen years old, I got a summer job. I was thrilled! I was going to get my very first pay check. All I had to do was to paint a small cabin. My supervisor came to see how I was doing. I had never painted anything before in my life.
I was enthusiastic. I wanted this cabin to have the most wonderful color, the smoothest finish of all the cabins in all the world. I focused for a long time on every inch of this wooden cabin. I went over it again and again with the paint brush.
A sigh of frustration (and a curse or two!) passed my lips, when the painted surface seemed to look worse, the more I worked at it. My supervisor explained that, rather than going back and re-applying the paint many times over, it would be better if I took my time with it. Once. And perhaps go back once more and make tiny improvements, with a light hand, so as not to mess up the whole thing.
That was over twenty years ago, but I have never forgotten that advice. I feel it is exactly the same with editing your piece of writing. You can do it – but not too many times, and do it with a light hand!
Use editing when necessary – absolutely. Is a sentence trite? Does a certain word make you cringe? Does it just add to the word count, rather than the essence of your text? By all means, throw it out, or replace it. Otherwise, let it stay.
These are a few insights that I have learned through my blog writing. In my experience, they have helped increase the popularity of my blog, from zero readers to about 250 and counting, currently. I intend to take my own advice for the future aswell, for my first novel. Novel?
Oh, that’s right, that’s advice no. 4: always believe in yourself. You will write that novel. (Or publish the one in your drawer. Or write that dreaded second novel).
A few months ago, I thought no one would ever read my blog. I was absolutely terrified of starting a blog and having no one ever read it. But here I am, thousands of blog views later, guest blogging for The Writer, A. Crump! So, never stop believing. You will achieve your goal! Just never let go of your dream.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before“.
-Edgar Allan Poe.
I hope you will have some use for these tips in your own writing. Thanks for reading!
-Eliza at SurvivedNarc
Was that enough spaces to let you know it’s me now? (If not, just know it’s me.)
You can find Eliza here –Click HERE!!!!! –
Awesome blog, Awesomer (is that a word?) writer. Excuse me, while I bribe her to guest-blog again – with more kittens and compliments.
– Antwan Crump.