Yet, as Joseph Heller once wrote, “Every writer I know has trouble writing.” I’ve experienced this as well. When you think about the process at any real length, you begin to understand why that statement is true.
Many writers key purple prose in an often subconscious attempt not to rock the boat. I’ve spoken with many writers who do not wish to upset anyone with their writing. I shake my internal head. These writers think they want to chase the dream writing. They want their voices heard. Yet, when pushing the pen comes to shoving the PC line, they dry up like a rose on planet Mercury.
People do not want to read lame, pedantic writing. People don’t want to read anything that skirts all controversy. I’ve seen critique groups (which I feel are at best an ego-stroke and at worst, demotivating to the point of chasing potentially talented authors away from writing) attempt to edit out all controversial subject matter. These same people will go home, turn on their television, and eat up the controversies written by other writers in their movies, television shows, and news. (Yes, the news is “written.”)
If you aspire to write, I suggest you take a deep, deep look internally and find what your true writing desires look like. What are you willing to write? How far are you willing to go with your writing? How much of your personal truth are you willing to expose to the world? Do you possess the internal moxie to stand against backlash toward your writing?
Explore the tough questions inside you. Writing must grab attention. Guess what that means? You CANNOT write plain jane, vanilla, non controversial, non issue-addressing material and lasso an audience. Writing must live and breathe and vex and titillate and tell stories some folks crave to read while others disdain it. Writing ultimately is born from within. You must identify how much of “you” gets selected to public perusal.
Writing takes moxie. I used the word earlier. Moxie – the ability to be active in courage or determination (or both). From my experience and perspective, writing, great writing, calls for a writer to throw off as much of the rules of the critical world as possible and key the words with passion and without restraint. I tell people in my workshops to “puke” their books.
Get it out. With passion. Write your truth. Damn what anyone else thinks or believes. Write your first draft with every bit of “honesty” you possess. Own it. Love it. Allow your passion to access creativity. Let ‘er rip!
Then clean it up. Make it more palatable for others. The first draft is for your eyes only. For the more squeamish of writers, take out that which lends your writing its most powerful voice, your controversies of truth. For the bolder, send your work out in the confidence in the reality that once backlash comes your way, so too will the folk who ascribe to your views.
Writing truly belongs not to the faint of heart. A stalwart author must stand on the principles and truths which flow off their fingertips. In my opinion, a writer learns to grow, learns to adopt new truths, new viewpoints, new horizons, lest their words stagnate and die.
Yes, writing truly is as simple as sitting in front of your keyboard and pounding out words for an hour or so. Simple, yet not so easy. Writing becomes simpler the more you allow yourself the permission to write your passion and your truth. The repercussions get left to the winds of harmony or dissonance from the world at large. Regardless of this external feedback, however, lives the satisfaction of releasing your true voice…