Grit And Guts Or Going Nuts

When I first started putting my hypergraphia to sensible use, it came with a load of prejudices in the trunk. I thought being a writer meant you had to think purple, that you had to have read everything worthwhile out there and were supposed to live in a house built out of your own books and plastered with originality awards.

I actually believed that you had to have a foot in some secret parallel universe, where unique ideas were just waiting to bite your toe, slide under your skin like an Afrikan parasite and spurt out of your forehead in the shape of a Pulizer. But the more I dug into the fertile planes of the internet, where fresh new seedlings grow out of the dung every minute, I realized being a writer wasn’t about patenting ideas.

The world has seen it all. Agents have seen it all. Publisher, readers, reviewers, hell, even your grandma has seen it all. No one’s come up with a unique idea in ages. But it’s not about never-before-seen plots. Writing isn’t about stories no one’s ever heard before. The only unique thing you—and only you—can come up with, is you.

If you want to give the best you’ve got and be proud of the result, you have to put yourself out there. Your view of the world, your experiences, the way in which you see a sunrise and experience pain, all of these things are particular to you. The characters you come up with, their struggles and wishes, are all absolutely unique to you, because they carry the weight of your entire life in one shape or another. Explore them to their fullest. Learn the craft of writing in a way that’s suited to you.

Don’t burn your synapses trying to come up with a plot the world has never seen before. Don’t try to be something you’re not, you’ll never do a better job than at being yourself. Besides, you’ll go absolutely donkey-doodle if you constantly squeeze your buns trying to squirt out a diamond. Create characters that live out your experiences, that confront your demons and achieve your goals. Create worlds that give shape to your dreams and nightmares, and make them reachable to your readers.

If you don’t have the balls just yet, grow them! Grow a Viking beard while you’re at it, and sleep with a mallet under your pillow. Or sacrifice a goat, I don’t care. Whatever makes you strong, just go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission, for crying out loud. No one’s the boss of you. Get your ass out there and be proud of yourself!

 

Disclaimer: No goats or donkeys were harmed in the process of writing this post. Except for the squirrel. What? ‘Da hell I know, it just jumped in front of the car!

 

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This blog post is part of theย A to Z Blogging Challenge, April 2012

20 Replies to “Grit And Guts Or Going Nuts”

  1. I love this post. It’s so true, and really motivational. There’s nothing but yourself stopping you from getting out there, and if you put everything you are into something you can make it magical. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be following this site even past the A-Z challenge. ^_^

    Like

    1. Thanks, Clare! I’m really glad you liked it!

      Putting your all into a project is an elating experience that transforms you, so much so that by the time you’re done, your pride and joy no longer depend on how anyone else judges the result of your work, only on how much you’ve outgrown yourself in the process.

      Like

  2. I don’t have any mallets under my pillow, but I do have a few swords on my wall. I’m not sure they make me feel any stronger, but they’re damn fine to look at. ๐Ÿ˜›

    The great posts just keep coming from you! Very motivational post, Vero. I’m with Clare, your blog is staying on my reading list for good.

    J.W. Alden

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    1. Wow, thank’s a lot, J.W.! *does little happy dance*

      Swords on the wall? How cool is that! I’d love to have an ancient crossbow…

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  3. My post in a few days will be on just how little thought I gave to the initial idea – though I’ve been building it up (with Grit, as you say) as I go along. Although the end output of writing seems to be magic it isn’t instantaneous at all so good to hear a sensible post like this. Thanks.

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  4. You’re absolutely right. I burn enough synapses with late night editing sessions and too much coffee.

    “Merle, Merle, Merrrle… Man, I’ll bet he’s playing in the street again.”

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  5. You are so cool! When I first started writing, I thought that I had to convey some sort of answer to one of the universe’s greatest mysteries. My writing was so didactic. And that’s just not me. I wanted to entertain. So I had to trash all that work and start writing as me.

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    1. I know that feeling! I started writing prose after writing postmodern poetry and philosophical essays for a quite a while, and it took a lot of effort to stop trying to infuse everything with a triple meaning. What made for interesting poetry made for horrible prose, and it was a struggle to get out of that mindframe.

      Like

  6. Love. This. Post.

    When I was a tween/teen, I thought all writers lived in special, mountain cottages where they communed with nature for inspiration. When they weren’t writing, they were answering letters from the adoring masses. And they had long, beautiful hair pinned-up in messy curls. And a perfect garden where birds came and sang. A roaring fireplace whenever they wanted. Children? Maybe โ€“ if they didn’t get in the way and interrupt writing genius.

    Now here’s the sad part: I did believe this to a point, so I didn’t write for years.

    Glad I finally got a clue. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    1. Thank you, Tracy! Breaking out of the illusion feels awesome, doesn’t it? Happy writing! You’ve got the long hair already ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

  7. A-freaking-men to this. If original plots were essential to the creation of amazing fiction, the good writers would have given up lifetimes ago. That kind of thinking leads to….donkey doodleness, apparently. ๐Ÿ™‚ And none of us want to go there, right?

    Fantastic post, as usual. You make us laugh while you’re making us think.

    Like

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