So You Want To Be A Writer
You want to be a writer. You’re bright eyed and bubbly and you say to yourself, “I can do this. I know I can." So, you start out on the journey. You take a writing course. You join a critique group. You buy a daily journal to write down your thought and ideas. You begin.
And then you slowly start to realize that the journey is not as easy as you thought it was going to be.
Writing is subjective. People reading your work are subjective too. The road to success is not a straight one. You have to make your way through a maze of different perspectives and opinions. You have to consider criticisms that are helpful and weed out ones that are not so helpful. In fact, some can be downright counter-productive. You learn how to tell the difference. A strong dose of humility and developing a thick skin go a long way.
It dawns on you that writing is not for the faint of heart. It points out your weaknesses. It challenges your sense of self worth. It frustrates you when you revise your story for the umpteenth time and it’s still not working. And, it terrifies you when you stare at a blank page and wonder when, if ever, that creativity will start flowing again.
Here are some things I’ve discovered about the writing journey:
The great take away is that you come to understand things that go beyond basics and techniques, although those are important. You begin to understand life principles and things about yourself. It’s one thing to “go for it.” It’s another thing to keep going for it.
That’s what separates the wannabe writers from real writers. You have to keep going for it.
I’m taking a mini course through Storyteller Academy. The course is on perspective and point of view, by Dashka Slater.
The course is basically about writing from different perspectives and gives examples of first, second and third person. If you write a sentence in three different POV’s, they will look something like this:
First Person - Unfortunately, I’m poor and I’m buying my prom dress at a thrift store.
Second person - If you’re poor, you’re probably buying your prom dress at a thrift store.
Third person - Poor Monica is buying her prom dress at a thrift store.
For an exercise, we take a sample of our own writing and rewrite the piece using all three voices. Which one feels more natural? Which one was difficult or uncomfortable?
I like Dashka’s style of teaching. She keeps it simple with clear directions. I ended up doing an exercise I’ve never done before and learned from it. Even though I wrote my story in 3rd person, I rewrote it in 1st Person and realized I liked it better from that perspective.
I think I might be attracted to a first person perspective in general. I loved Dashka’s book, Escargot, which gives a snail’s first-hand account on why he should be a favorite pet. First of all, Escargot is French and anything with a French accent is funny in my book. I don’t know why, but there it is.
Another book I loved was I’m My Own Dog, by David Ezra Stein and, of course, Diary Of A Worm, by Doreen Cronin.
In my rather inexperienced opinion, writing in third person feels a little stiff and removed from the reader. Second person is somewhat encumbering, at least for me. Having to include a stranger (the reader) into the entire story can be tricky and tiresome.
But first person allows me to to keep my train of thought and story moving while confiding in my reader. I’m closer to the reader than third person, but not annoyingly too close like second person.
Of course, this is only my opinion at this moment in time and subject to change.
I thought I'd write a few thoughts on art, life and whatever else comes to mind.