Friday, March 16, 2012

Combat the "I can't write"

I hear it far too often, "I can't write, but I can tell a story." or the all inclusive, "I can't write." Well, if you can talk, you can write. It's words, not rocket science. You can convey a myriad of emotions and supply someone with a visual and the words are the same-'the' is the same word whether written or spoken. I subbed at a high school while a teacher was on maternity leave, and of course half the class moaned about not being able to write an essay as long as she had specified. One poor student wandered back through the door bemoaning the fact that if he didn't pass the class he couldn't play football. That same morning I had heard him talking about a fantastic play his sister had made in a softball game. There was details, and sounds, and you could almost smell the hot dogs at the concession stand and the popcorn. My advice was to find a tape recorder, recite the tale and then rewind and write. He did and he made an A. His teacher was amazed when she came back and cornered me in the hall one day wanting to know what I said that made the difference. Finally she caught on, there isn't one right way to write, there's what's right for you.
Inspiration is another grand excuse, "I'm not inspired to write." So, what you are really saying is, "I'm in a lazy mood and don't want to write." Just say that. Inspiration is everywhere, IF you allow yourself to accept it. The other day we had fog roll in over a snow packed road and it was magnificently spooky, so I sent the hubs out to shoot a few picture for me. I prowl old photo albums and now online albums, pictures are great-I wrote a story that was set in the Keys and old Bahama Islands, and all around me I had taped pictures of beaches and shells and three masted ships. I listened to beach sounds on CD...until I had a feel for where I was taking that story. Music is great inspirational material. Again, you have to decide what's right for you. One of my writer friends has this loud, obnoxious, electric chainsaw meets car wreck type of music and another cannot listen to anything with words. Mine is whatever trips my trigger on that day.
The biggest thing is to rid yourself of the word 'can't'. Life has enough roadblocks without throwing more in your way. Find the trick that works for you and write.

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