Wednesday, August 26, 2009

on the drudgery of writing

For the last few weeks, I've been taking a writing class to work on what will probably be some semblance of a series of short stories and what could possibly (though not probably) be a novel.

As a child of the A.D.D. generation, not having A.D.D. but understanding the mentality of those who do, I often find myself a restless writer . Particularly, on days when the blogosphere is full of juicy tidbits and sweet tweets take me to far off articles in other people's magazines, written about far more interesting subjects than I myself am pondering at any given moment.

Writing at these times is a brutal endeavor and the tedium of rules is greatly exacerbated by the far greater expectations of making page counts. Coming from the world of advertising, long copy is a page, at most a brochure's length. But a book, a book takes forever to write only to, if the book is to be effective in any way, feel as it didn't take any time to read at all.

The process is intimidating and the minutia of it all is often frustrating. Familiarity breeds contempt. Mistakes get lost somewhere between the loathing and the far smaller moments of liking. So in this whole process a guiding hand in noticing the simpler things, the supposedly given things, becomes necessary. I actual found this list on writerly type of both big and small advice from writer/instructer Martin Amis, and I wanted to share a little.

• Watch out for words that repeat too often.

• Don’t start a paragraph with the same word as previous one. That goes doubly for sentences.

• “Stay in the tense.”

• “Inspect your ‘hads’ and see if you really need them.”

• “Never use ‘amongst.’ ‘Among.’ Never use ‘whilst.’ Anyone who uses ‘whilst’ is subliterate.”

• “Try not to write sentences that absolutely anyone could write.”

• “You write the book you want to read. That’s my rule.”

• “You have to have a huge appetite for solitude.”

The ones in bold have offered personal hardship as of late. Particularly the last one. By the way, the picture on top is Truman Capote only because I love him. That is all.

1 comment:

  1. "Thirty years I wanted to be a writer. Now I am a writer and I wonder why I put myself through it."

    - Charles Bukowski.

    A lesson for us all, perhaps.