Monday, March 20, 2023

"I'm a Writer [for Validation]!"

Unsolicited, a guy shared with me in Central Park, "I'm a writer!" When I asked him what he had written, he replied, "Nothing yet."

Relatedly, K. M. Weiland advised, "Write every day that you can. [...] Don’t look for validation. Trust yourself," which shows that there may be a negative correlation between seeking validation and writing (prolifically). 

In other words, as the amount of validation one seeks increases, does that correlate to a decrease in page counts?

Regardless of the strength of the correlation, one should avoid writing to be validated. Instead, as we previously posted, one may want to write for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Write to inspire by spreading (positive ideas)

2. Write to avoid ennui and depression

3. Write to increase tenacity slash self-control 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Write Fiction From Non-Fiction

How many times have you said or heard, "You just can't make this stuff up."? Per Urban Dictionary, the idiom is: an expression said in response to an an unbelievable fact or piece of news. 

But it's also, literally, true. A novelist just can't make make stuff up, because, as Rachel Khong related: "All fiction is born out of some alchemy of observation, imagination, and personal experience."

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Secret of Short-Story Writing

O. Henry, the famous short story writer, had a secret for writing short stories, which can apply to writing - in general. O. Henry's secret was writing to entertain William Sydney Porter. O. Henry reportedly shared:
I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. [...] If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.
And Harlan Ellison, the New Wave writer, agreed with O. Henry in that one should write stories that are self-entertaining, because if you can't write a story that amuses yourself, you may never wow the public. Ellison reportedly advised:
Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: write to please [i.e., engage] yourself.

Monday, January 23, 2023

3 Must-Haves of Every Writer

There are, at least, three (3) must-haves of every writer:

Per James Baldwin a writer must cultivate the state of being alone

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone. - JAMES BALDWIN

Per Joyce Carol Oates a writer must be able to concentrate for long periods of time

First requirement of the writer is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Second, more urgent requirement, the wish to do so. - @JoyceCarolOates

And Malcolm Gladwell opined that a writer must have have more than an engaging story but that a writer needs to have a strong desire to tell the story

When you write a book, you need to have more than an interesting story. You need to have a desire to tell the story. You need to be personally invested in some way. - Malcolm Gladwell 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Difference Between a Writer & “I Wish I was a Writer”

Based on anecdotal evidence, most people don't believe that they have the inherit ability to write a book. How many times have I heard someone say, "I could never write a book!"? 

And of the few who attempt to write a book, based on anecdotal evidence, most never finish writing their books, which, per award winning science fiction author Octavia Butler, is what, obviously, makes the difference between a writer and “I wish I was a writer.”

Octavia Butler: "I tell the students that there comes a time when you want to either burn it or flush it. But if you keep going, you know, that’s what makes you a writer instead of an “I wish I was a writer."

So, when the inevitable imposter syndrome sets in, try not to drag your doc to the trash but keep writing until your confidence inevitably returns (إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ). 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Literary Muse from Unfortunate Event

Moshik Nadav Typography

One swell way to deal with a difficult moment in life is to assume that there's an underling (positive) reason (i.e., حكمة) behind the occasion. And as a writer, you may be able to use that difficult moment as a muse for your writing. So instead of belaboring the unfortunate event, like humorist Art Buchwald, ask yourself: "How can I use this stuff to my literary advantage?"

"I’m working when I’m fighting with my wife. I constantly ask myself - how can I use this stuff to my literary advantage." - Art Buchwald

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Writing is Like a Sport

Just last week, I was exhorting a student to practice his intellectual pursuits with the same intensity that legendary athletes, like Jordan and Tiger, practiced their sports.

And it appears that Rick Riordan, the New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series, agrees with my methodology. Riordan advised writers:
Writing is like a sport, it's like athletics. If you don't practice, you don't get any better.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Don't Make a Fool of Yourself as a Writer

It's not uncommon for aspiring writers to have a fear of sharing their writing, because they fear that they'll make a fool of themselves, but Stephen King may have the solution, which is simply to read - a lot. Per Jon Winoker, Stephen King said:

“The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. i.e., [laptop]” 

Monday, November 14, 2022

5 Traits Your Characters Need

Per Writing a Novel, there are [at least] five (5) traits your characters should possess:

#1 Physical Appearance

Does your reader know your character's eye color?

#2 Psychological Makeup 

Is your character a melancholy introvert or a sunny extrovert?

#3 Cultural Influences

Is your character a cultured New Yorker or an unrefined hillbilly?

#4 Moral Compass

Is your character cautious or "free" slash uninhibited?

#5 Social Contacts 

Does your character live in SoHo or SoBro?

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

3 Ways to Spice Up Your Novel’s Plot

There are, at least, three ways to spice up of your novel's plot:

  • Make a Shift by having a scene go from superb to super bad or vice versa
  • Expect the Unexpected by having something totally unpredictable appear 
  • Have a Eureka Moment by having your hero figure out something that was completely overlooked earlier in the novel