How Not to be a Writer (Part 2)

I wrote part one here, how I was in love with the business of writing and not the work of writing here. And I wrote of how an amazing person I know gave me some great advice. Well, I have more advice here. I don’t know she did it, I can’t figure out how she got to the root of my non-writing; all I know is that I now write an average of 1,000 words a day, usually more.

Part two  –
I went to a physics once and he said I was an academic snob, I snapped back, ‘What would you know, sure haven’t even have a degree!’

The above is a joke*, well a physics did say that to me, but I nodded rather than saying anything back. He also said that I needed academia to back me no matter what I did as my own accomplishments and attempts would never be enough for me. I think this is due to the fact that I always felt that  you don’t just become

something; you study it.

Which is funny because I studied Information Technology and Telecommunications in University of Limerick. It was all engineering, programming, mechanics, quantum physics, pure maths, electronic engineering, digital and analogue electronics. And yet, if you were to ask me anything about these subjects, well, I wouldn’t have a clue. I have a degree in something that I know little about and all of my actual knowledge in computing and techie things has come from hard-core messing about with technology.

The only thing that degree did for me was to put it out there that I should be good at computers and that intense pressure forced me into faking it until I made it.

I want to write a book but I wanted a masters in something writing related to get some pressure from the world thus forcing me to actually write.

I even set up this blog to try to get the same results. It worked in a way. The more commitment to books  and writing I showed, the more people assumed I was a writer. Now, when out and about and books are mentioned, all eyes land on me. But my response is one of – sure what do I know?

I have been attempting to write for nearly two years. And now that I think about it, I have put in enough time. I know about the publishing industry, the role of agents, the importance of marketing, the necessity of an on-line presence, the demands of writing and book launches, the formatting of a book, character, psychology of the character, conflict, mood, tone, love, hope, plot bunnies, the three acts that make up a book, hook, networking, observing people, jotting down ideas or interesting phrases, discipline, self-motivation, setting goals…..

All of this hiding behind searching for knowledge needs to be tapered.

Writing is scary but I know enough to just let go, feel the horror and just write.

Trouble is that I don’t know how to plan, they just become messy. Then when I write the story is just a jungle of words and ideas with nothing coherent. And, no, no I do not want to work with that and re-work it. It would be like brushing your teeth with spat out toothpaste.

Advice from a non-writer friend:

  • You talk too much about writing and planing, you are trying to control the story and that’s why you can’t write. You don’t control people in real life so where do get off thinking you can control them in fiction.
  • You are only scared in real life when something really matters to you and even at that you are rarely scared. And yet you sit there just about to tell me all your writing worries; I have never seen you so scared. Use that fear, respect that fear. You writing obviously means a lot to you, surely that is incentive enough.
  • Plan a plot? That’s like trying to plan your life. Did you plan this? Look-it, just have a general plan, a five line summary and then write. You can have the power trip of deleting later.
  • Tell me what your story is about in five sentences and then write one scene after another. Then be God-like and glue them together.
  • This story is coming from somewhere in your conscious so rather than a one dimensional take on it, why not put more of yourself in the story. Flesh it out in a realistic way.

* I have to explain jokes here as the Irish ironic and sarcastic way can get confusing (and insulting) for my beautiful non-Irish people.

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