Monday, February 18, 2008

Writing Advice Meme | I got tagged!

Tami tagged Deesha for a Writing Advice Meme. So - I did some sifting through my notes from classes I used to teach and here we go. (We're only supposed to give 3 bits of advice - but - I stumbled across a half term review....

Ideas to hold onto about being a writer:
1. Writing is a lot of hard work. It is a discipline which must be practised daily. Even if you are not writing daily, there are many other skills to practice. These include: listening, observing and noticing emotion. All of these skills can be incorporated into written material later.
2. Becoming a writer involves training yourself to shift your way of being from unconscious (or passive) to conscious (or active.) It is critical to train yourself to be aware of the world around you and then commit to document or recall it clearly. A writer is a person who is present in their body, who lives with an awareness of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures around them.
3. Another change from passive to active involves learning to approach the work of other writers differently. Becoming a writer involves being less passive when we consume the work of other writers and becoming active by reading critically.
4. A writer uses their imagination to transform seemingly meaningless things, people or actions into meaningful ideas and stories.
5. A writer is a person who has ideas they need to communicate to others.
6. Writers must develop the discipline to put on a piece of paper exactly what they see in their head.
7. The writer is always present in their work. Regardless of whose story they are telling, the underlying framework for that piece has to be a passion to communicate and idea in a manner that the reader will want to participate.
8. Writer’s must learn to step outside of their comfort zones. Read things you don’t normally read. Do things you don’t normally do. Experience life in new ways so as to gain a greater understanding of the characters and places you wish to create.

ADDENDUM: The best advice I’ve ever recieved was during a workshop with Sonia Sanchez . “If you don’t have the discipline to make your bed everyday, then you don’t have the discipline to be a writer.” When I think about it, she’s right. Making the bed is one very small action which can completely transform a room. You can have clothes all over the floor; dishes on the nightstand; piles of books, newspapers and used tissues - but if the bed is made the room doesn’t look so messy. Writing is like that. Make the bed - everyday. Everyday transform your inner and outer space with one small and seemingly unimportant action.

You'll get much more sage advice here:

Ruth Ellen Kocher

DJ Renegade

Lawrence Gordon Wray

1 comment:

Joel Dias-Porter said...

I haven't made my bed in over 5 years. It has alwAys struck me as a needless act. After all I'm just going to get back in it and mess it up. But I know a ton of writers (all of them women) who don't like to write in a messy room.