Saturday, October 10, 2009

Writing Made Easy

“Writing is easy, you just sit down at a typewriter, open up a vein, and bleed it out drop by drop.”-- Red Smith.

I remember staring at a copy of this quote in English class years ago. It’s the truest statement to what writing is really like I’ve ever seen. And if you haven’t at least felt like you have done just this in your writing, then you need to go back and try again. To really write well you have to be willing to bleed yourself out; reach deep into your inner soul and pull out the smells, sights, sounds, feelings. Ugly, hot, sour, whatever.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. All of us must start at the beginning: an idea. A story, whatever it is that interests you. You see a dog on the road that has been hit, moaning and in great pain and you take it in, or you wonder what would happen if the money you have stashed away behind your desk drawer could take you on a journey; escaping from your humdrum, or maybe painful reality. The possibilities are endless. I happen to be interested in love and so my stories generally are about love and all that goes with that sometimes wild ride. And then I sit down and begin writing.

The best advice I ever received was to not be afraid of writing badly. A first draft is generally pretty awful and not something you want to share with a lot of friends, but still you must “bleed out” the ideas. Get them written down the minute you think of them. I like to keep a pad of paper by my bed and in the car for any ideas that come my way. More often than not we forget the inspiration that comes to us, though we don’t think we will. We are all busy and easily sidetracked. So write down those ideas.

Some writers are disciplined enough to start with an outline. For me that is paralyzing. I have to just start writing and let it take me where it may. It’s like a rollercoaster ride sometimes and even I don’t know what is around the bend half the time.

So don’t be afraid to spill a little blood. It will only hurt for a minute, and the reward of having something written down forever is priceless.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there it was good to see you at the baptisms! Are you going to make it to Jeren's farewell? If so, what cookies are you going to make? I am going to make Sherelle's iced pumpkin cookies she just posted. They look so yummy!