Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Path To Becoming A Writer
Found this pic posted up on Facebook this morning by several writer friends of mine, and I just had to share here because of how remarkably apt it is--especially for me. I mean, wow! You wouldn't know it, but I'm amazed that I meet 7 of the 9 prerequisites here, and have come close to or will eventually meet the remaining two requirements.
Holy hell! Of course, I won't be giving away the details of just which 7 I meet. But I can admit that, sadly, all of the negative ones have already happened to me. And that's all I'm going to say on that front.
Still, this comic strip reminds me of something one of my writing instructors once told me; a poignant lesson I've never forgotten. It was after I had taken a huge break of some 8 years from writing after graduating from college. I asked this instructor why, after so many years of almost no writing, did I suddenly have so much to say and write about? And her response was that sometimes we have nothing worthwhile to write about until we've gone out into the world and lived real life for a couple of years. In other words, our every day experiences shape us--for better or for worse--in ways that can directly correlate to our writing. The more of life's harsh lessons you live through, the more your writing takes on a nuance and discipline you might never have enjoyed before as a novice student.
Now, this is not to say that you had to have personally lived through a Shakespearean tragedy in order to become a good writer, no. However, I will say that age and experience has certainly changed the way that I write my stories now. The stories I wrote in my teen years were whimsical and full of cliches. And while the stuff I write today is still on the far-fetched and tropish side of things to some extent, I have noticed that my writing is oftentimes morally ambiguous now. My protagonists are not always these white-bread paragons of truth and justice, nor are my villains so simply evil for evil's sake. Or at least, I try not to make them so. I still get burned every now and then by my critique group (especially for my thinly constructed antagonists at times), but for the most part my writing reflects the increasingly complex moral world I find myself co-inhabiting with roughly 4.4 billion other hairless apes on this planet. Do any of us really know what we're doing in life? Do we???
Anyway, enough navel gazing for now. In other news . . . expect my weekly Game of Thrones recap to be a little late. I simply haven't had a chance to watch last Sunday's episode yet. But when I do, you'll be the first to hear about it.
In the meantime: how about you? Does this comic strip reflect your own path to becoming a writer? I mean, is your cat really that loyal? Really?
Think about it.
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