Sunshine & Chocolate & Everything Writing

Writing as if I have something to say.

A spoonful of passion, a pinch of humbleness…

Posted by Line Larsen on September 3, 2008

In the last entry I was rambling about talent and just barely touched the subject of the makings of a good writer. I also mentioned how writing is art and art is subject to opinion. You cannot measure it. However, I happen to have an idea of what I personally look for and aim towards.

Grammar, spelling and sentence structure is vital. Yeah, I’m afraid so. I want easy reads. However advanced and in depth the topic, I want the text to flow. I don’t want to decipher what I am reading or struggle to get through it. Trust me, neither do publishers.

This reminds me of a self-published author I bumped into online. He consistently avoided capital letters and used punctuation sparingly. Even the book he released had this odd feature. I asked him why, assuming he had some artsy reason for his choice (like Picasso, but the writer version). Unfortunately, and he admitted this openly, it was just laziness. That made me very sad.

The second thing I look for is life experience. Don’t worry, I am not about to tell you that young people have nothing worthwhile to say. A 66 year old published author once said that during an interview. She actually said she hated young writers and I was furious.

What I am saying is that writing requires some sort of experience. Start by writing about what you know. Research anything you don’t know. Make sure that you are constantly gaining knowledge to help expand and improve your art.

Don’t try to be the new Ernest Hemingway or Emily Dickinson. Be you, it is your greatest advantage. Nobody can beat you at it. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration in others, though. That is just part of the fun.

On that note; it’s easy to spot who has fun practising their art and who doesn’t. Playing around with ideas, descriptions, stories and characters will only improve your writing. Some clearly enjoy the idea of being a writer much more than they enjoy the actual work. If you are bored writing, you are boring your readers as well.

Writers should talk about literature with fervency and you should see the same fire when they talk about their own articles, stories and books. They have to burn for their art and believe in themselves, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

Be pushy about being heard, fight for your own work, fight for yourself. In today’s market it is f-ing hard to break through. Don’t give up even if you’re miles away from being published or your first book sells 567 copies to your friends and family. Dreams are not always fluffy and pink, they won’t necessarily happen as you wanted them to. If you truly want to be a writer, you will keep going. Oh, and get a day job on the side to support yourself and your family in the meantime.

When a good writer has built up all this stamina and attitude, they have to take it down a notch, listen and learn. Skilled writers will always be open for ideas and suggestions. Especially if it comes from a worthwhile source, like a publisher. It can hurt to use the delete button, but it will be worth it in the end. Like someone once said: Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out.

I am partial to thin books. Concise and to the point, that’s my style… So I will stop typing now.

Thank you to boredom for inspiring this entry.

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