December 31, 2013

Quit thinking

Dear M,

You know what our problem is? We think too much. We wonder if our writing is any good, if it is intellectual to the right measure, if it is comic enough, if it is unpretentious, if it has the right feeling, if it is horrifying enough, if it is disgusting enough, if it is impressive enough.

We're not afraid that critics are going to rip it apart and write bad reviews after bad reviews. We're afraid that they are going to ignore it. That no one is going to buy it. That no one is going to talk about it. That it is going to vanish into oblivion as if it were never born. Oh, if only some critics had ripped it apart - if only someone had found it worthy enough to be trashed.

One solution to this fear is reading. Get hold of any book that you hear of. Read it (or try to) as much as you can. Some of them are so brilliant that you are not even jealous of the author, you idolise him/her. Some of them are average that jealousy is inevitable. Some of them, this is the group I am interested in today, they tell you that writing a book like that is a piece of cake. If they can write like that and get noticed, I can do even better. It is not even crap. It is a delicious waste of time. It is such a juicy boring book that motivates us - if such writing can survive, we are one hundred times better, we would survive for centuries. Not that it is true, but it will keep us from sinking to the bottom.

But by far the best solution to the fear that keeps us from writing is to quit thinking. Thinking is terrifying, especially to a new author. Do not worry about what our story is about, or about how immature it is going to look to someone, or how artificial it is going to sound, how unreal and untrue it is going to appear to be. Those are fears that will keep us from writing. Those are the fears that froth to the surface when we put our pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). Shove them away, they are no good. Let us do our part of the work, and let the rest happen as it will. Thinking will get us nowhere.


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  1. Wish you and yours a brilliant 2014!!

  2. In all honesty, you're right about the "delicious waste of time". I wouldn't call any of them "delicious", but yeah, they do make me feel, "If these writers can do it, why can't I?"
    Happy new year!

    1. I think the word I should have used is "hideous" instead of "delicious".

    2. Yes, that would've been more appropriate..