Monday, December 6, 2021

Writer or ReWriter?

Should writers refer to themselves rewriters? I ask because writers often spend more time rewriting than writing.

John Winslow Irving, the author of The World According to Garp, reported shared:

Rewriting is surely three-quarters of my life as a writer, and it may be the part of my life as a writer that I value the most or have the greatest confidence in. Fine tuning, fine tuning, fine tuning—I love it. 

In the end, rewriting is writing; thus, writer is a fitting (job) description. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Writing Style & Design


Terry Pratchett, the English novelist, who may be best known for his Discworld series (41 books!), reportedly, in terms of writing drafts, advised:
First draft: let it run. Turn all the knobs up to 11.

Second draft: hell. Cut it down and cut it into shape.

Third draft: comb its nose and blow its hair.

In other words, the first draft is a brain dump, the second draft is a deletion of the frivolous, and the third draft is an addition of style slash design.  

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Three Vital Matters for Writers: Journaling, Reading & Writing

Madeleine L'Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, listed three vital matters for writers: journaling, reading and writing

First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. 

And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. 

The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Three (3) Reason to Write

Based on previous posts, I'm listing three (positive) reasons to become a writer. (Of course, there are more, but let's stick to three - for now.)

1. Write to inspire by spreading (positive ideas)

Allegra Goodman, the winner of the Whiting Award for Fiction (1991), saidA true writer opens people's ears and eyes, not merely playing to the public, but changing minds and lives. This is sacred work.

2. Write to avoid ennui and depression 

It has been reported that Michael Crichton, the famous author of works like Jurassic Park, advised: “Working inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you are interested, keep working. If you are bored, keep working.”

3. Write to increase tenacity slash self-control 

We learned from Danielle Steel's Glamour profile (MAY 9, 2019): The author has written 179 books [...] To pull it off, she works 20 to 22 hours a day. (A couple times a month, when she feels the crunch, she spends a full 24 hours at her desk.)

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Write to Spread Ideas & Messages

lvcandy\Getty Images

Hugh Prather wrote in Notes to Myself

“If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire is not to write”

I disagree with Prather, because like Seth Godin related, the desire should be: "[...] marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority [via writing]."

19. Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.

Writing is difficult, and one will have a difficult time finishing a book if he or she isn't energized by the idea of spreading and delivering a dear message.

It's similar to reading a non-engaging book, because it's difficult to read a book that isn't delivering anything - not even entertainment.

For example, if you don't find stories about Brooklyn based conflicted writers engaging, you're going to find it difficult write about them and\or read and\or watch The Tenants.

And any writer, like Nabokov, who relates that he or she doesn't write to spread an idea is (possibly) a... 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Are Writers Narcissistic or Altruistic?

Mary Karr, the award-winning poet and New York Times best-selling memoirist, reportedly opined:

All writers are narcissistic [...] No one can sit in a room by themselves for 12 hours a day thinking about what they're thinking and not be a little more self-focused than the normal person. You're definitely on the far end of the [racist] bell curve. 

And per Poetry School, Sylvia Plath said: 

I think writers are the most narcissistic people. 

But Dictionary.com defines narcissism [ nahr-suh-siz-em ] as an: "inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity."

And this is how the Mayo Clinic defines narcissistic personality disorder:

Narcissistic personality disorder [...] is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. 

Thus, I would disagree with Karr's and Plath's assessment that (most) writers are narcissistic. I don't think that (most) writers possess "excessive self-love" and have "a deep need for excessive attention". 

On the contrary, I would opine that (most) writers are altruist, because they "sit in a room by themselves for 12 hours a day", because they desperately want to share their art (with the world). 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

"American Horror Story: Double Feature": Write Under the Influence


On American Horror Story: Double Feature (s10e04), Belle Noir is on a self-financed book tour for her self-published romance novel, Martha’s Cherry Tree, which is a "[...] racy retelling of the
George and Martha Washington story." 

In chapter 17, Martha discovers that George has been in one of the maid's bed, "little innocent" Penelope, but instead of confronting George, Martha seduces the maid by: "[...] kissing her hairy warmth between the young maid's legs."

(Maid [ \ ˈmād \ ] noun : an unmarried girl or woman especially when young : VIRGIN. [Merriam-Webster])

Although, Noir was informed, "You're a good writer," there were (only) four bookworms at the reading, and Noir (only) sold one book. Consequently, she took a pill that would super enhance the quality and speed of her writing; thus, Noir wrote a 400 plus page novel in one night, but the pill had horrible side-effects. 

If a writer doesn't want to end up like Noir or, say F. Scott Fitzgerald, we advise writers to, like Voltaire, write of the influence of coffee but, unlike Balzac, not too much. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

BIG BROTHER (2021): An Case of Joy [Versus Misery]

In the above GIF from Big Brother (2021), Derek F., Azah, Tiffany, and Hannah  are experiencing extreme joy; so much so, that their bodies, literally, couldn't bear the weight of the emotion. 

Derek F. braces himself on the designer sink. Azah and Tiffany drop to their knees. And Hannah looks quickly for a place to sit before plopping onto the bed. 

But interestingly, the body can react to joy and misery in similar ways. It's not uncommon to see people react to, say, the news of a deceased loved one by plopping, bracing and/or dropping to their knees. The main difference is that misery is often coupled with crying while joy and laughter are often couples. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Write to Escape Boredom\Depression

It has been reported that Michael Crichton, the famous author of works like Jurassic Park, advised: 

“Working inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you are interested, keep working. If you are bored, keep working.”

And I would add that being bored can lead to being depressed, but like Crichton (indirectly) advised, a key to avoiding depression is to work slash write. 

It may be counterintuitive, but if you don't feel like writing, force yourself to write, because creating will often propel one out of boredom and depression into inspiration. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Fake Pandemic Introvert vs. Real Introvert



Dahlia Gallin Ramirez's "Fake Pandemic Introvert vs. Real Introvert" New Yorker piece (July 21, 2021) shed light on the rise of fake (pandemic) introverts. 

In one of Ramirez's examples, a fake introvert shared: "Going to read all the works of Tolstoy."

The post was a "dead giveaway", because real introverts typically don't overshare on social media. 

In the case of the introvert, the potential social media post would have been considered bragging as Tolstoy's oeuvre would have already been read - in Russian. And instead of posting, the real introvert, a polyglot, would have been busy translating Tolstoy's The Cossacks into Aramaic.

Last, we'll re-share a Martin Amis quote: "The first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when he is alone." (The Paris Review "The Art of Fiction No. 151)