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

Monday, October 17, 2022

Three Ways to Develop Your Writing Style

With inspiration from Writing a Novel, I've compiled Three Ways to Develop Your Writing Style:

1. Expand your vocabulary by reading prolifically, and make your friend  

2. Don’t copy, but be inspired by your favorite author. And make an annotation when you read something that’s especially stylish

3. But do not overly focus on style, because having an engaging story is, in the end, more important

Monday, October 10, 2022

Obstacles to Writing a Novel

Inspired by Alice Sudlow's piece "10 Obstacles to Writing a Book and How to Conquer Them" posted on The Write Practice, I'm sharing four (4) obstacles to writing a novel slash book:

1. Fear 

Fear of writing can be overcome by having a purpose, because your desire to share your message should be stronger than your fear of failure

2. Time 

To manage your writing time, you may want to start by writing 30 minutes per day - everyday, which will come to about 15 hours per month

3. Faultfinding

To avoid finding fault with your writing, don’t edit during your 1st draft; however, do a brain dump and edit during subsequent draft(s)

4. Writer’s Block

To unblock your writing, write about something you’ve read, seen, heard and/or experienced and use your imagination and writing skills to turn that into art

Monday, September 26, 2022

Three (3) Ways to End It (i.e., a Novel)

Per Writing a Novel, there are (at least) three ways to end a novel:

#1 The protagonist wins and consequently the antagonist loses

#2 The protagonist loses but becomes a better person 

#3 The antagonist wins but, end the end, becomes a better person as well 

Overall, the endings are positive, which is similar to Seth Godin's stance, but contradictory to Nabokov's, that there should be a(n) (altruistic) message in writing. 

Seth Godin related that a writer's goal should be: "[...] marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority [via writing]."