Musings on Writing – or How To Write for Fun and Profit

Posted: October 10, 2005 in writer's experiences, writing

Sit, preferably at your keyboard. If no computer is available, always keep paper and pen handy. You never know when an idea might strike. Be ready. Write it down before you forget it. You will likely forget it, but it may re-surface at three AM one morning. Keep a pen and notebook on your night table.

Give yourself permission to think and dream: open up yourself to strange and unusual thoughts. Consider them. It’s true, some ideas should be immediately suppressed, or stomped upon and killed. Others should be utilized, and will take off like wildfire. The trick is to know the difference. This takes intuition, practice, and feedback. Be sure to keep plenty of these around.

If as a writer you are feeling restless or stuck, try multiple projects and discover which genuinely engage you. One practical philosophy: let the words/art age. Put them/it aside for a while. Come back to them/it. Have they/it improved, or do they/it stink’eth? The aging process may reveal such.

Not a few writers have gotten their start via internet exposure. Message boards, web sites, and writing groups can prove a training ground. Positive feedback and rejection are a post, or an email, away.

When the words have moved through your head and fingertips, you might experience the Compulsive Need To Post. Take a deep breath and count to one hundred. Are these words ready to be shared with the world? Sure, the Instapost feels good now, but in the morning you may feel differently. And since there is no ‘Take It All Back Now’ clickable icon, what’s done is done – unless, of course, your work is TOSed.

The words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters are now posted online. What kind of response are you getting, and how do you feel about that? Or, have you received no response? Don’t take it personally. One’s quality writing can be seemingly ignored. Can most people relate to the piece, or not? Does the tone or subject matter of the piece possibly make some people uncomfortable? Good.

The responses to your posted writing are coming in. You are getting a buzz, and making new friends. But beware the Post Posting Blues. It’s inevitable for writers to experience this syndrome, when the enthusiastic responses cease. The sad truth is that the writing jollies cannot last forever, we must work for that next fix. Get a grip. Focus on the work.

Why are you writing? What are you writing? Do you choose a genre, or does a genre choose you? Having previously written primarily humor and essays, I joined a well known erotic writing group.  I began to write stories that I could not have earlier imagined. Erotica is out of the closet and into the mainstream. The erotica market booms. Sex sells. From drek to literature, every level of erotic fiction is a mouse click, or drive to the bookstore, away. It’s said that literary erotica is on an upswing. We sometimes seem to forget that eros was excised from many classic works. Consider the content that is now being openly published and marketed. Consider that it’s not a bad time to be a writer (in many ways).

You have decided to submit work to print publishers, so that your words might exist in a real book that exists on a real shelf. One must now research the markets, not a difficult task in this age of informational overload. Know the market, but don’t let it intimidate you. Don’t lose your original voice and inspiration. Forget about set-in-stone genres, go for joy and originality. Write about what you know and/or love: my first print publication was a short story parody of the film Thelma and Louise. I love film. Good energy went into the piece. I was lucky that the editors also happened to be film lovers.

If you strongly feel about a potential writing subject, be willing to do research if necessary. Don’t dwell on the negatives of the struggle to publish, and be willing to accept uncertainty. Do consider what type of work you’d wish to be known and remembered for.

It is believed that to be published in our vast, glutted market of diverse writers, a writer should likely possess a few of the following: excellence, originality, unique perspective and a common touch. And don’t forget luck. Sometimes a little luck is the best plan. Let’s don’t forget connections. Do you experience  all of these? (Ahem) Please have the decency to be quiet about it.

Over time my favorite authors seemed to consciously and unconsciously teach me, filtering into my soul as if by osmosis. Things went click in my head. I had flashes of intuition that I too, could be a writer — and flashes of extuition: “Silly! you could never do THAT!” said my internal dream-stomper. It would be a while before I gave myself permission to assertively express myself on the page. The upside is that I’d gained life experience before I naively wandered into cyberspace and struggled into print. I’m glad that I waited. I think.

Now go write something!

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