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Saturday, April 4, 2015

So You Want To Be A Writer

Charles Bukowski, the working-mans poet, once wrote that if you want to be a writer it must come easily or else it does not come at all. If it does flow from you as easily as blood from an open vein then you should not do it.

In that poem by Bukowski we get at the bones of what a writer is: A person that lets their tears transform into words along with their anger, their blood, their love, and that whole spectrum that makes up the human condition.

However, this does not tell us faithful prospects how to write. That is a much larger question.

The answer is a fairly simple one and yet it is one that is complicated. To learn to write the first step is to learn to read.

In one way that seems obvious. You have to be able to read to be able to write. However, it isn't merely that you must be literary. You must be a beast with three-heads, devouring book after book, article after article. You must spend time hunting in libraries, in book stores. Digging through and pulling forth that gold stuff we call a book.

If you can't do that. If you have no time to read then, as Stephen King said, you don't have time to write. That's that.

So then, let's say that you've started reading and you've been reading a lot. You've read all the epic poets, all those beautiful fantasies and biographies. You've read everything. What's next?

What's next is that you get an opinion and post it on a blog. Why is this important? Because you must be critical at all times, not only of yourself, but of the world as a whole.

Perhaps this is the cynic in me talking. However, I do not consider myself to be a cynic. When I say be critical and have an opinion I mean that you must go into that room where Kafka and Shakespear and Tolkien inhabit and tell them, "Hey, Tolkien, Lord of The Rings is interesting, but it is also very dirivitive and has, in fact, caused a great deal of harm to fantasy in the years passed. Your understanding is great. Your world is amazing. However, your characters can fall flat and your treatment of good and evil is cut-and-dry as fuck.

Also, what they hell was with making Beowulf christain?"

Or even say the opposite. This is a must. If you cannot hold an opinion and be critical how can you ever hope to be original and moving and meaningful?

Now, at last, we find ourselves at the door to being a real true writer. From here it is as easy as writing always. Even if you are never to be famous. Even if you get a thousand rejection letters. Even if you never sell a book. One must persevere not only through what the world says but also through what our own internal critic says.

Writing is a task that requires those involved to keep writing. To keep pushing onward. It is through writing that we learn and connect to the world. It is the process of growing.

If, deep down within yourself, you find no room for growth. If you find that you haven't that burning hell fire that threatens to consume your whole fucking soul, then don't do.

So, ask yourself, do you want to be a writer?