Monday, February 25, 2008

Of Memes and Butterflies

There is lots of great writing advice floating around out there, but since I've been tagged with two Memes by my twin-toting, writing gal pal Shawn, who I can't deny anything, I'll add mine to the mix. Here are a few things I've learned this past year about writing:

Join the Club: Writers tend to be introverts. Let's face it, you have to enjoy spending a good amount of time locked up with yourself to be a writer. We sit around chewing our pens, our fingers hovering over the keyboard in moments of anxiety feeling like we're alone on our make believe planet. The thing I've learned is, it's healthy for us to realize we're not alone. So, join other writers. Join online communities, join local clubs--form connections, friendships, fall in love with other writers, laugh with them, complain to them, rejoice with them. They are your kindred. You are not alone in your nightwalking, your insecurities, your love of words. These are the people that understand you and your goals, your successes and your fears. How great is that???

Be Fearless: I'm still working on this one, but when I say fearless, I mean in life too, not just on the page. One of the things I regret, because it does affect my writing is not having enough life experience. Not getting on that plane or talking to the stranger crying on the sidewalk, not taking the scuba diving class or the chance to learn a new language. You can be the most talented wordsmith in the world, but if you have nothing to write about, no interesting experiences, no first-hand details to weave into your stories they will lack not only substance but authenticity. So live. Be a writer, but don't be just a writer.

Embrace the Struggle: It's not going to come easy, success in this business. I've stopped wanting it to. Did you know--

It’s the struggle against the crysalis that sends blood into the butterfly's wings so they will be strong enough to navigate the wind. Without that struggle, the wings would come out, but they would be deformed and of no use. There is beauty and strength within the struggle--as long as you don't give up.

As for the second's the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag 5 people

The only book I have on my desk at the moment is Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. So, even though these aren't very exciting lines, here they are (cuz I play by the rules, I can't help myself)

In writing class, painful things come up--the death of a husband, throwing the ashes of a dead baby into the river, a woman going blind. The students read the pieces they just wrote and I tell them they can cry if they need to but to remember to continue to read.

Her point here is-writing is the goal. She goes on to say that writing gives us a chance to take these emotions, even the hard ones, and give them light, color and a story.

Light, color and a story. We have all the fun, don't we?

If you want to have some fun, and haven't done these yet, try it!


Shawn said...

Great list and you are such a rule-follower!

Be fearless. Yes. I've been tripping on this one lately myself. I'm trying hard to overcome my mind.

Did you call that number, yet? That fear of planes #?

Oh, well ... there are other ways to live and experience challenges. Like raising twins, for instance.

Gary said...

I'd swear you only posted two sentences from the reading, and are therefore not really playing by the rules! Correct me if I'm wrong, fudger.

Shannon said...

Shawn, nope! lol I really really want to, though. Does that count?

Gary- Ah, all is right with the world again. Damn, maybe I am a rebel and just don't know it.