Why do writers write? Certainly not for the fun of it. Few writers I know think it's an enjoyable process. It's often such a torturous process that Hemingway declared, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” We dawdle, we procrastinate, we clean the house or mow the lawn -- anything but write. Discipline, though, helps us overcome those obstacles, so that we do not, in fact, go mad. We write, because, in spite of the difficulty, it's a
"Kill your darlings" is the way Stephen King puts it. Those well-turned phrases that make you smile at your own ability as a writer. You must be willing to cross them out, delete them "without pity." It isn't easy, but an author's writing must be tight. Every word must count. Each phrase must move the story along. And if you have a word, a phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph that doesn't effectively do that, it's gotta go. It's as simple and as hard as that.
How? you ask. Stephen King said it first: tell the truth. Many, perhaps, the majority of people don't like the truth, even when it's presented with kindness and grace. Often, the truth is too hard to look at, too hard to admit. It can be ugly and painful. It may hit too close to home. When you tell the truth, you will likely have more detractors than friends. As a writer, though, we have an obligation to do just that and let the chips fall where they may. We can't be afraid o
We've heard it before; in fact, you've read it here. Reading is essential to writing. You'll never be a good writer if you're not an avid reader. It's that simple. You can't sit down to write if you haven't taken the time to read -- a lot! Reading helps you identify a skillful turn of phrase, or out-of-the ordinary but effective word usage. It broadens the mind and sparks creativity. And the best part is: it's fun! Who else but writers get to read for fun and call it work?
I've found that the more I write, the more closely I observe and appreciate the small things in everyday life. And the more I appreciate the small things, the more I realize they're not small at all. *Steve Jobs