Monday, January 12, 2015

Food for Thought - 5 Myths About Writers

My mother and many others would often say that fish was "brain food." Still, they never quite convinced me to put aside my aversion to the taste and smell. I'm more a spoonful- of-sugar-helps-the-medicine-go-down type of gal.

A lot of writing advice reminds me of fish: smelly and yucky to the palate. What are some of the things that make me cringe? Here's a partial list:

1.  Real writers must sit down and write every day. I contend there's more to developing a story than putting words on paper. Research, turning various scenarios over in your mind, and jotting down interesting tidbits from your day all count. Then when you actually sit down to spill thoughts into a pristine document, something worthwhile comes out.

2.  Real writers plot out their stories. Sorry, folks, you might as well put moi into a padded room and lock the door. Writing is a Seat-of-the-Pants endeavor in this house. If plotting gets your brain in gear, go for it, but we're not all wired that way.

3.  Real writers are introverted, down gallons of coffee, and own stock in Godiva. Okay, I'll give you the Godiva. Introverted - not a chance. I thrive on interaction with people whether in person or on Facebook. The idea of a lonely cabin and a laptop makes me shudder. Lactaid milk and chocolate chip cookies - yeah, that will get the words flowing.

4.  Real writers will only read in their genre. Boring! I realize many are horrified by these revelations, but some of this stuff is what causes writer's block. I write Christian Speculative Fiction, but love to read Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, and dare I say an Amish book or two. Oh, don't forget non-fiction has its benefits. Of course, I love futuristic novels, but what happened to being well-rounded?

5.  Real writers will make consuming how-to books their top priority. Don't get me wrong, but I believe in selective consumption of these tomes. Most of them are slanted toward plotters. I've got my favorite craft books, and they've helped me improve. My best craft book: God's Word. Getting closer to the One who is THE Creator and seeing how He expresses Himself - it doesn't get any better than that.

Question for Writers: What writing advice ties your brain into a knot?

Question for Readers: Is there a point where a writer's efforts to help you see a scene leaves you puzzled instead of enlightened? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Photo Credit: GlennPeb


Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing out that not all writers are introverts! I receive me energy from being around others and then can spend time alone writing, and finally learning that still means I am a writer!

Karen Lange said...

I cannot always write every day, and I used to feel guilty about that. But I realized that I am always working on something in my head - whether I am sitting down at the keyboard or not. Good post, Susan!

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan, I am with you on #1 & #2. Writing everyday is forced and it hurts. But if I let it stew, I can produce. Chocolate also helps. Happy new year.