Sunday, October 11, 2009

I astonish even myself sometimes

From 1/8/08:

Every once in a while, I'll go through and delete my "sent" message files--I subscribe to a LOT of online writing groups, so much that I rarely have time to keep up--and I'll find that I have actually posted something useful vis a vis writing.

About the craft of writing:

That said...there is a mind-set that is behind Zen archery that I try to
remember. You learn technique until it doesn't matter any more. It becomes
one with who you are and the movement of you, the bow, the arrow, the
target. It is all one...but that only after you learn technique.

There is a pattern to learning the technique. You at first learn it, you
become bound by it, then you break free, and you are beyond it. But it
doesn't happen until you walk the path, learn the art.

Or, as my mother used to say, "so what if you don't have talent? You will
learn talent."

I have often thought my mother is actually Yoda in disguise.

Which is actually useful advice, because it means you need to have patience with yourself as you learn, get stuck, are released, and then understand and attain mastery.

The market (advice to a newbie):

Times change, trends change, and what didn’t work in the past will work now. Running after the latest trend will make for failure. The truth is, if you write what you love, the trend will move to what you are writing sooner or later. Running after the latest trend is like running after the bus that just left the station: you’ll always be running after it and exhausting yourself, instead of catching the next bus when it comes by if you stand where you are. That next bus may well have been the one that would have taken you where you wanted to go. Anyone who writes to the trend MIGHT get lucky and have one, maybe two books published. But you’ll see them burn out pretty quick, because they're always running after that bus instead of focusing on the art. Burn-out can mean the end of their career.

Homily for the day: THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER BUS.

Of course, this piece of advice could be pandering to those who think they are somehow "above" the market, which is not what I subscribe to, for that way lies madness, or at least bitterness. You really do have to think of your audience (not what publishers want--that's a different thing). IMHO, it's best to have an attitude of generosity about your writing, a wish to share the pleasure you have in the writing, as if you've created the most delicious meal you can imagine, and have invited your readers in for the feast. The most popular authors I know of have this attitude, an attitude of invitation, so that you are welcomed in to party along with him or her.

Did I ever say how much I love writing? I do, I purely do.