Writing in the Chaos

Writing is hard. On the best of days, when the phone doesn’t ring and the dog doesn’t bark and your other jobs or school work or family obligations remain mercifully quiet, writing is still a challenge. And the truth is, most days aren’t going to be like that.

Love Thy Editor

To be an editor, you have to sense when phrases don’t sound right. We must be self-editing and rewriting all the time to create the best product possible.  Here are a few ways to manage the editing process, so you can achieve the best final piece. 

Keep Out, Let In 

On those days, more than any other, you need to know how to work. You need to have a sense of your own limits and your own strengths and you need to know how you can make it through the dark cloud to achieve even that one simple project, to put on your thinking brain and ignore the poll numbers and the destruction photos. You need to be able to do this, because in the life of a writer, you will have days when nothing goes right, and you will still be called upon to tell stories. Perhaps more than ever. 

The Business Balance

They’re all right. Every single person who told you that writing was going to be full of obstacles and challenges and rejections, every single one of them is right. Writing is hard and you should be able to fall back on other skills, and yeah, you probably will be broke, at least for a while. But the truth of it is, writing – the whole writing process – that’s the easiest part.

Conflict, Inside and Out

External conflict on its own rarely stands up as being big enough, emotional enough or important enough. Yes, external factors are important in keeping a story moving, but internal factors are the driving force behind character arc and development, and our pathways to making two-dimensional, imaginary characters human. Real.

Place as Character

Cities do not speak. Beaches do not dance. Mountain ranges do not dream. Places are not, intrinsically, human. The humanity we derive from them is based in our own perception, the sights, sounds and smells that form a location or environment in our mind. There is no natural anthropomorphism to a place, and that is why it is so important that we put it there.

Damn Hard Writing

From the outside, writing doesn’t look too hard. After all, I spent eight to ten hours a day on my computer, doing the thing I love most in the world. What could be difficult about that? I get to research unique and interesting things, and tell the stories that I want to tell. It’s the dream job. And it is the dream job, but it’s sure as hell not an easy one.