Finished Brenda’s book and left a review in the usual places.  Will have to read it again.  She recommends taking the Pantser approach to writing. Outline are too constrictive in her opinion. They restrict the “True Voice.” A true voice is one that doesn’t worry about the rules and writes from the heart in a free-flowing style. Basically not editing itself until after the writing is done. I’ve known this voice for a while, it’s called my muse. We’ve managed to reconnect. I’m still not writing on the books I should be, but at least I’m writing, and I’m hearing my characters again. That’s the important part.

Onto the next book

I’ve started my next book on writing. Discover Your Writing Self: 31 Days to Deeper Understanding of Who You Are as a Writer is more interactive than Brenda’s. The author gives the lesson and then asks questions at the end, urging the writer to answer them in a journal. I figured I’d answer them here, offering insight into my thoughts about writing.

Day 1 was all about the intro to the book, how things will work, and what Andi’s hopes and dreams for her readers were. She also talks about getting rid of should, or the terrain of guilt and “not good enough,” and not listening to the  the one-size-fits-all advice that us writers are pounded with. The questions for the day reflect this sentiment.

What is your reaction to writing advice that prescribes set things to do?

Depends on what it’s prescribing and how the prescription is made. If it’s you must do this, this way, or else then no, I’ll pass.  One, I get too obsessed with rules and trying to be perfect, which can lead to a bad case of writer’s block. Two, sometimes the advice contradicts other advice and ends up tying me up in knots. Three, where is the creativity in all of this?  Books aren’t written by formulas or rituals. They come from looking at things from different angles and creating a story around that perspective and understanding.

Now, if the advice is more of a suggested, here build this structure or have this system in place (eg Goins’ five draft method) that address a specific problem, I’ll adapt it to my needs.

Experts are experts because they have experience in their field. Doesn’t mean they know everything or their advice can completely apply to a specific situation. That’s why, as with anything, it’s better to keep their insight in perspective.

How do you read those “behind the scenes” profiles about a writer’s life?

Interesting stories that apply to their situation. I tend to read the “about the author” blurbs or catch an interview on occasion. The only authors I’ve really gotten to know as of late are my fellow indies because of interactions on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Even then, some are closer to be than others because of how the relationship developed.