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Trade and Craft

Writing requires discipline, produces life

Writing requires discipline, produces life

by Christian Michael

March 26, 2014


Dear young writer,

And by young, I mean, young in writing, not young in humaning. Because I have met many people much older than me who speak how much they would like to write but can't seem to get themselves to do it.

So, dear young writer,

Write.

There are few other better pieces of advice I could ever offer to those who have yet to capture themselves as writers than to write. Write. And, well, keep writing.

There is no magic lesson, tool, software, form of paper or secret tactic that will instantly make you a better writer.

Just writing.

Now, I'm not discounting proper language training. Understanding proper language structure helps writers know how best to frame their story or point to their reader, considering audience, tone and style. Knowing the rules of English are paramount both in knowing when to use them and, as powerfully, when to ignore them.

There is no perfection in language, because there is almost always more than one way to say the same thing, and knowing the rules and principles and such help you figure out the best angle by which to approach your writing.

If you've been told that you should only ever write in perfect English and never venture outside the lines, you've probably spoken with someone who's never read Shakespeare. William Shakespeare made up names and words to suit his story, and it worked.

Language IS malleable, but there is a grand difference between a young upstart who fumbles his way across the busy highway of literature and the trained driver who drifts. (Drift. v. To drive or race by fishtailing a vehicle around turns on a designated track or roadway) Drifting is against the rules of proper driving, but it works.

But you won't amble haphazardly across a busy highway or ever come close to drifting if you aren't even on the road.

If you aren't writing, and you ache to write, you're failing yourself. Not your readers, not your spouse, not your children, because writing isn't about them.

It's about you.

Writing is but one of many avenues out from which our soul must pour. If you've ever had that urge to write, then you're bottling yourself up. How much in you is failing to flourish because you let the stupid daily activities of life keep you from living?

If you aren't writing, it's time you started.

You can offer every excuse you want -- "I'm too busy," "the kids are too busy," "there just isn't enough time in the day" ... I guarantee you, there is time. But you have to change your priorities.

It's not easy, especially when everything around you feels so tight, already. But imagine you lost everything tomorrow.

Imagine you had a fraction of your current income, lesser living quarters and maybe only one vehicle for your entire family.

How much of what you think you need is only a matter of expectation, not reality? In this scenario, your son can't participate in all those sports, girls can't attend dance classes, you can't constantly go out on the town or be so wasteful in what you do.

Where will your priorities be then? You might have to work considerably harder to get by. Looking back at the nicer life you had, full of "busy" activities instead of the meaningful ones like that bring you to life, would it be worth it? At the end of it, will you and your kids be so grateful that you filled up every moment with activity that ultimately doesn't mean anything, or would you rather look back and be satisfied with activity that feeds your soul?

I've written seven books. I've planned more than 60. I've written several news articles posted all around the world. I've helped people with resumes, school papers and all other sorts written content.

I have written five nights a week, without fail, for almost four years now. I'll write more on that journey tomorrow night. Suffice to say, that this writing exercise, in all its frequency, has changed how I write, in every venue. My journalism, my fiction, my short stories, my formal content, scriptwriting all improved ... all because I forced myself to write, write and write.

And my journey as a writer is far from over. I've years of writing ahead of me. Decades. Scores. My frequency may come and go, as I marry, bear offspring, fight off alien invasions and venture into all the other parts of my life -- also to be tackled tomorrow night -- but I will never cease writing. Why?

Because I'm a writer.

And you? What are you? Are you a writer who isn't writing?

What're you waiting for?

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