The more a writer journeys through the mystical land called “publishing,” the more rules get tossed at them. The more rules a writer faces, the more they have to think before they put pen to paper, or type, or whatever. The longer this process goes on, the bigger the struggle becomes.
It’s no wonder imaginary ailments like “writer’s block” and “writer’s brain” and “writer’s whatever” are experienced everywhere. What these should be properly coined is…FEAR! Yes I said it. I’m not the first. Actually my best friend (or whatever he is right now since he’s not exactly talking to me at the moment) said it a long time ago. But FEAR. It’s why so many of us writers drink to get the juices flowing.
Winston Churchill called it “Liquid courage”
I have often called it “Confidence juice.”
Alcohol helps to get us passed that wall of helplessness. That fear. That all encompassing sense of doubt and doom. Doom da doom doom doom as Gir from Invader Zim would sing it. (I suck at spelling so no being meanies)
Once you delve into a story and get passed all the bullshit, there’s still all the cliches to avoid, the overuse of the word “that,” and semicolons and such. (And if you haven’t read my take on semicolons check out my last blog post. )
I find myself avoiding certain words or phrases because I’ve been worked over by the system. Good editors are great, but having your work torn apart day by day can grate on your nerves. It rips up your ability to write freely.
Writers need to be fearless!
Gotta take the criticism, eat it up and let that shit come out. (So to speak) Working with editors and publishers is how we improve our craft, but we can’t forget ourselves in that mess.
Everything always comes back to balance with me.
In the beginning the first mistake I noticed was the overuse of the semicolon. It is my favorite punctuation mark, but too many is just wrong. Same with exclamations. But I became so afraid to use them after my first go round with a pro editor that I stopped using them altogether for a while. Huge mistake.
Everything has it’s place. Everything has a time to shine.
The poor word “that” is often overused, but that doesn’t mean it should be cut from everything altogether. “Was sentences” are that way as well. When I first started editing for people I realized that amateurs use a lot of “was sentences”: “She was” “He was”, “that was” as a common lead in. It’s redundant and boring. Tells way more than shows. But sometimes you have to start a fucking sentence with, “He was!” That’s just how it goes.
Don’t be afraid to use the things that should be sprinkled around in moderation. Like adjectives: Ryan Lanz compared them to spices; too much can be a bad thing, but not enough and the story’s bland.
I prefer to get the fucking story out and worry about all of this crap later. It’s what editing is for. Hell, it was good enough for Steinbeck, (not that I’ll ever be good enough to be compared to him.) The point is, suck it up and get it out. Write! Write! Write! (No this isn’t the wine talking, okay maybe a little bit but you get what I’m saying.)
Be fearless and do it!