Hi, folks, this month I'm going to dig into pitfalls that writers fall into from time to time. I will spend the month of June uncovering hidden hazards in writing. Please check out my earlier series on Pitfalls too. So here goes.
One pitfall many writers fall into is formula. There are stacks of writing books out and writers gobble these up. Faves include Robert McKee's Story, Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, the Elements of-- series. Yes, these stacks are good books and offer great advice. But here's the deal, the most important part of writing isn't in the books. The most important part of writing is who you are and what you want.(Mythic!)
A novel to me is akin to sailing a ship around a world on a sea no one has never been charted. I'm a voracious reader and I know that many writers stay close to the shore, don't take risks, and end up producing hopelessly mediocre work. And what really kills me is they can do more. I will see evidence of more but they don't do it. Consider this, formula may be holding you back. Don't get me wrong, formula is not a bad thing, but it's like acetaminophen, too much of it will poison you.
So how do you know if you have fallen into this pit? You are surely in the pit in you are trying to mimic another author. Listen to my kindergarten teacher Ms. Crabtree: be yourself. You are in the pit if you read stacks of writing books, but you sort hate the work you are producing. Stop that right now. You are in the pit if you avoid the place you want to go in your story because it goes against the rules. Break the "rules", dang it! You are in the pit if you have abandoned a project you love because folks have told you it is too out there. I say, go there. You may sink the ship, or you may discover a new world.
I hope that you zoom forward this week with your projects. Thanks for dropping by. I will be back next week with more of this series. Seize the day.
Here is the doodle for the week: Owl.
Your quote for the week.
I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul. William Ernest Henly