Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday Soirée - Writing Matters by Rob Parnell

I've been a subscriber to Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write for quite some time and Rob never fails to catch my undivided attention with his informative and inspiring articles on writing and the writing life. I've taken up many of his free offers and benefitted from the guarantees he has made about his gifts.

Once again he delivered a timely dose of encouragement to writers at every stage of the writing journey.

I am so happy to share his latest article with you.

Writing Matters

by Rob Parnell

People take writing for granted nowadays. It's everywhere: the Net, newspapers, magazines, books, novels. You can't go anywhere or do anything without coming across words - and the images, even industries they spawn. It's easy to forget that everything starts with a writer.

Writers are often taken for granted too. The news is apparently more important than the journalist who records it. Movies are often regarded as more important than the screenwriters who craft them. Publishers frequently bemoan authors for being the most irritating aspect of their jobs. Even some websites today become far more influential than the scribes who put them together.

But without writers, nothing much out there would exist!

Everything starts with writing - and a writer, just like you.

You Gotta Start Somewhere

I've been helping writers online for about seven years now - and one thing I've noticed is that at various stages of their careers, all writers beat themselves up. They're plagued with self doubt and often lack confidence in their work.

This is bad news if you want to be productive and successful - in many cases it can even stop you from writing at all.

But the good news - if you like to call it that - is that self doubt never quite goes away. No matter how good you get, or how long you write for, you never lose that side of yourself that questions your ability, or your talent - even your sanity sometimes.

Why is this good, you ask?

Well, it's good because it's your self doubt that actually makes you better at what you do. You internal commentator - you know that guy? - is the critical faculty in your brain that forces you to perfect every word, every line, every piece until it's as effective as it should be.

To me, there's nothing worse than a writer who are totally satisfied with the first thing he puts down - and will not change it! No, it's writers who are obsessed with perfection that impress me - and whose careers inevitably transcend all the others.

Flexibility is Control

It's hard sometimes, I know, to murder your darlings, those pieces of prose you love so much.

It's hard to change characters because they're not working in your story.

It's hard to incorporate publisher's suggestions into your work.

But in all these situations, you have to.

You need the strength of character to understand that your writing lives on the outside of you, not just on the inside.

When your writing is on paper, it's fair game, so the thinking goes.

That's why the journalist is forgotten, that's why the screenwriter is used only as a starting block in Hollywood. That's why publishers tend to treat newbie authors with such contempt. And it's why websites take on a significance way beyond their creator's copy.

But this too is good. It's part of the process. Writing creates 'things'. The writing is the piece of clay that creates an idea or an object that editors, publishers and producers want to mold and shape into something everyone can use and enjoy.

Your own writing has the power to inspire.

Don't be afraid of changing your writing, honing and perfecting your skill, to make your writing better. Over and over if necessary.

There's no shame in that - quite the opposite is true.

A Writer's Time is Never Wasted

Being a writer is about having a certain mindset - a different way of looking at the world. Where a normal person sees life and and accepts it with fatalism, a writer sees the world as a place filled with opportunities to create and improve on reality.

That's why the world needs writers so much - to offer escapism or solutions, to make sense of everything and make life more meaningful.

Writing is a noble profession. We are creators.

It doesn't matter how long we take to get things on paper - or perfect what we do. A writer's life is organic, it feeds off experience and we improve, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, depending on our needs and our desire to learn.

Even when not writing, the true writer is gathering information, sensations and stimuli that will eventually find their way into the writing. It's all good. It's all purposeful.

Writing matters too much to let our self doubt get the better of us.

Don't let your inner demon grind you down.

Don't ignore the voice that makes you doubt yourself.

Make friends with your inner commentator.

Be buddies.

The two of you have important work to do.

Keep Writing!

Now, let's get to our writing because with Rob dishing out information and inspiration like this, it is easy to write.


Jan Cline said...

Thank you so much for sharing this article...much needed for those days when you wonder why you are doing this writing thing!

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan Cline,

It is always a pleasure to share whatever opens the eyes, informs the minds and encourages the hearts of writers.

This article by Rob Parnell hit me at my weakest spot and delivered a generous dollop of inspiration to do this writing thing (as you so eloquently put it) (:)

Joanne said...

Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. Nice insights into writing here. Sometimes it's good to be reminded how we fit into the scheme of things, when those doubts raise their ugly heads, making us question our intent, our abilities. I like the idea of making friends with our doubts, and working hand in hand with them. What a team I make ;)

Cheryl Wright said...


What a team indeed. Friends may leave but those dang pesty "inner commentators" hang in there with us.

So we might as well do the wise thing - link with them, learn from them and write in spite of them.

Jan said...

I really loved reading this, Cheryl. It shifted my perspective on my own self-doubt in a remarkable way. Very inspiring advice here to keep on keepin' on, no matter what! And we all need to be reminded of that time and again... Hugs!

Cheryl Wright said...


That's the message really - "Keep on keeping on" and while we're at it we have supporters in the wings cheering us on.

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