Just a small piece of advice for any young person who thinks they might want to write:
You do have to practice a whole lot, and daily practice is really almost required. However—and this is my advice for today—
Be very clear about your goals and then practice exactly what you want to do. If you want to write novels, don't practice with letters. If you want to write nonfiction, don't practice with academic papers. If you want to write stream-of-consciousness, don't practice quatrains. Do a whole lot of exactly what it is you think you want to do.
The Commentariat will now think of 700 exceptions and modifications of this advice. But all I can tell you is that it's hard for a stuck-in-first-person blogger-type to write a third-person genre novel.
It's like the old Mitch Hedberg joke. He says he worked hard to be a comedian, and when he got successful, people from Hollywood came to him asking if he could write a script. "That's not fair," he said. "That's like working really hard to become a great cook and having people come up to you and say, 'hey, you're really good at cooking. Can you farm?'"
—Mike, who can write blog posts in his sleep but is apparently
crashing and burning attempting to write in a little backstory
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Eamon Hickey: "Exception & Modification #317: When I was a young writer, I thought I wanted to write one kind of thing, but when I got old enough to actually have something to say, I found I wanted to write a different kind of thing. And I reserve the right to change again! P.S. This comment has been my 14th successful attempt to avoid actual real writing today. Now, on to #15...."
Steve Jacob: "Mitch Hedberg's comment is a bit like asking a landscape photographer to take your portrait. It seems that all 'great' photographers were known for a very particular style, even if they didn't start out in the same genre. The mindset of a landscape photographer is very different from a sport or studio photographer. Is the key to becoming a good photographer to simply stop doing the things you are not good at?"