Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ten Thousand Hours: Some Inspiration from Macklemore

So I've been listening to Macklemore's album a lot lately.  And not just Thrift Shop (what you know about rockin' a wolf on your noggin?)

The first song on the album, Ten Thousand Hours, has a particular lyrics that rings true.  He raps "The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great 'cause they paint a lot."

And that modifier, "a lot", is so important.  You may have heard of the 10,000 hours rule; it's the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master any skill.

I like to remind myself of this, because I'm not one of those people who grew up wanting to be a writer.  From a young age, I was told that I was good at math, good at science.  I wasn't bad at English class per say, but it didn't come as easily as math did.  I couldn't ever remember vocabulary words despite reading a lot when I was younger.  I preferred the creative writing assignments to the essays we had to write.  And after about 9th grade, we (or at least in my high school) didn't get any creative assignments (at least not in written form. We did have to perform some monologues, but I digress.)  So while English was my favorite class, it wasn't the class I was the best in, so I didn't really pursue it in college.

I know I'm not the best writer when it comes to that stuff.  I know I can't turn in a first draft of an assignment to my professors in college.  Some people's first drafts will be better than my second or third draft (not that you should compare yourself with others!  Don't do that!)

But I'm okay with that.  Because I'm not going to stop writing.  If it takes me 10,000 hours, then that's fine.  I wasn't born a writer, but I can still be a writer.

Note: Turns out Veronica Roth was inspired by the same song on her blog post yesterday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Writing something meaningful is terrifying

So a few days ago I was scrolling through Twitter, and I came across a tweet from a fellow writer about how writing is really just blinding terror when it actually means something.

And I totally understand.

I think for me, this is why I've kind of been slogging in my current WiP.  It's something I've never done before (contemporary), but it's so so personal this time.  There's no SF world-building to distract from the themes.  There's no magical creatures to enhance the characters.  There's not explosions to increase the conflict and tension.  It's just people and their feelings and loss and pain.  It's something I can relate very closely too.  The fear means that it means something to me, that I'm doing it right.

But what if no one likes it?

What if I tell the story wrong?

What if no one likes the characters?

It's these thoughts that have kind of been crippling me, the self-doubt finagling its way into my head.  I know I just need to write and not worry about anything else excepting getting words on the page.  Then in revisions I can tweak everything until it's right.

And I have to remember, not everyone's going to like it.  That's just a fact of life.  People have opinions; that's what makes us individuals (hoorah!)  I just have to write without thinking about that, and hopefully someone out there will like it, but even if no one likes it, I like it and it's for me.  Because it means something to me.