"But I already know that." (You probably do, but...)

Started by Gyppo, January 26, 2023, 07:26:29 PM

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The trouble with newsletters, forums, or books  about writing is that there are only so many 'basic building blocks' to writing.  A lot of advice will be repetition.

It's in how we use that same basic info, the tools of our trade, that the magic emerges.  Every time I read something (okay, perhaps three quarters of the time) and think 'I already know that' I also ask myself if I'm actually applying that rule/principle to my own work.  If not, why not?  If I've tried it, and it didn't work for me, then I'm right to be dismissive as far as my own writing is concerned.  But that same tip which leaves me cold could be the breakthrough for someone else.

Some guidelines can be inspirational without being technically brilliant, and others technically perfect but as inspiring as cold porridge ;-)

The problem is we all - even the cynics - are still hoping to find that one magic tip which will unleash a whole torrent of creativity/productivity.  But we're unlikely to find it in a newsletter, no matter how good.

Writing which truly comes alive on the page comes from conviction, enthusiasm, and having something to say in the first place.  Without these everything else is just a box of tools.  The same tools that everyone has access to.  The same tools which are 'sold' again and again in newsletters.

People often comment that they've tried unexpected genres following a prompt of some sort and learned something new.  The keyword in that sentence is tried.

Without putting pen to paper or fingers to keys it's all just theory.

So discard any newsletters which don't inspire or at least make you ask 'what if?'  But if any particular one makes you feel like writing, follow the lead and see where it takes you.

Writing is one of those things that improves quite rapidly with practice, so skip fairly lightly over the theory, put your bum on your seat, and plough through your apprenticeship.

You know it makes sense.


Jo Bannister

Quote from: Gyppo on January 26, 2023, 07:26:29 PMWithout putting pen to paper or fingers to keys it's all just theory.

Sorry, Gyppo, I've only just seen this.  Good sense, as always.  (Well - nearly always.)

There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing.  If you want to pursue a trade, you have to learn that trade; and the best way of learning a trade is usually by doing it, figuring out where you're going wrong and improving.

I know I've posted this quote before, but I make no apology for posting it again because it's absolutely on the nail.  I wish I could remember who said it.

Thinking about writing is not writing.  Talking about writing is not writing.  Even writing about writing is not writing.  ONLY WRITING IS WRITING.

Do it.  Do it badly, then do it better.