I’ve been asked how I write. What’s my style. Most professional writers will tell you to work on one project at a time. Plan it well, plot the character sketches into your story, arrange all the ducks in a row. Well, with my tornado brain, my ducks are all over the place and have lost lots of feathers. I write off the cuff, by the seat of my pants, and yes I use stereotypical cliches. The things I do would curl straight hair on the guys and gals writing for a living, but I’m here to tell them, I don’t think I am the only one. When I am working on one of my several projects or WIPs (Works in progress) and things start to come out stale, like gum that’s been chewed to death, and the characters start asking questions about whether I have lost my nut, and I start rewriting instead of just writing, I tell them all to shut up and settle down! I’ll be back later. That’s when I will switch genres and start fresh, the new tornado just a gentle swirl on the horizon. My current WIPs include a young adult novel about telepathy and dragons, A fantasy about a modern day nurse who is really an old warrior who has the power of everlasting life. I am also working on a novella that was a short story about a serial killer who’s targets are pedophiles, a light comedy about my days as a service plumber, with a few short stories of some of the more interesting calls, and an essay memoir which is on hold as I deal with yet another fork in my interesting travels down life’s road .
So you see I tend to do a lot of things wrong, according to the pros, and yet they tell us to go against convention and step outside the box, or triangle in my case. I am a terrible speller, and I rely heavily on my editors, but then I get to put wine and bread on their tables, and the circle goes round and round. Sometimes the circle is flat on one side, but we all have to change a tire sooner or later. At the end of the day, I work things out with my muse and we can usually quiet the riots from the characters, because they know the consequences of causing too much trouble is certain death.
My advice to anyone who has that urge to write. Listen to your muse, and let it work you and mold you. Don’t worry too much about editing, just write, and do the fixing down the road. Understand that writing is like getting water from a rusty pipe. You have to let it run for a while, and get rid of the dirty water before the clean, good water will start to flow out. Writing will become writing well in time and with practice. The really cool part is we are always in practice mode, and like learning to walk, then run, then fly, our writing will improve daily, but you have to write everyday. Quantity doesn’t really matter, in my view. Write one hundred words or one thousand words in a day, the idea is to just write something every single day. It’s the only way to drill down to the really good stuff that is in us all. On this the experts agree with me, so I am doing something right. Also know that some days you won’t be able to write. You might be sick, handling a life crisis, or if you are like every writer I know you will just procrastinate yourself right into watching cat videos on Facebook, and that’s okay, but that crap comes with a price, because you will have to write twice as much tomorrow, or so I keep telling myself.
I was also not sure what genre I wanted to write in, at first. I wrote a middle grade level fantasy, about a boy who meets a live dragon, and the dragon teaches him about nature, and helps unlock the boy’s ability for telecommunication. This started out as an entertainment piece for my two sons. Later as I stretched my writer’s wings I ventured into a police mystery, and a Sci-Fi story for starters. I’ve since done poetry, comedy, Fantasy, Fairy tales and Folk stories. I love trying my hand at the different genres, but some were not so successful, and bear in mind we as writers are our own worst critics. One comedy story is listed above in the masthead. “Not Waxing Poetic” went viral on the internet in the 80’s and in twenty some years had over fifteen million hits, and my name was never attached to it. This kind of piracy, whether intentional or not can and does happen, especially when sharing on the internet or in an email.
Did I stop writing when I discovered this about five years ago? Of course not. I was impressed that my piece received so many views. It did explain why I never had any results with the countless times I submitted to magazines and publishers. I grew a thicker skin and carried on. I’ll never make a dime off that piece, but neither will I off any thing I put up on this blog, because it’s considered as published already. And I’m fine with that because it’s my way of investing in myself to promote my words, and hopefully develop a following of more fine readers like yourselves.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to listen to an old writer, with an even older rant. I know there’s more of you out there. Let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by.