Writing advice is everywhere. Most of it only works part of the time even if it is good. A lot of it isn’t good. When it is good, there is no sure fire way to know when the rules are supposed to be broken. You’re supposed to guess and either you will be seen as a genius for knowing when to break the rules or you will be the example for why the rules should be followed. You are told to write what you love. We are advised to write what we know. We are encouraged to expand our horizons by some or to find our niche by others. I would suggest that maybe you should strive to write what a better version of yourself would like.
The idea would not be to write for what a more pertinacious version of you would like. You can write high literary, but this doesn’t mean to apply flowery language to try to make a story more high-minded than it actually is. This does not mean to tackle the genre that you think the crowd would enjoy. These are the things we do when we get up inside our heads and try to write for acceptance in whatever form we happen to be seeking it. This is what we do when we are trying to appear better than we think we are while feeling that we are far worse than we actually are. In the process of trying to be this person, we lose the things about our writing that indicated we had potential to begin with.
When I say to write what a better version of you would like, I mean to try to write for the audience of you without the hang-ups and self doubt. What would that writer create without the fear of what the rule makers would think of the product? If you were writing for a version of yourself that was not second guessing your choices, what would that story look like? Which directions would those characters turn if they weren’t being held back by the author’s nagging doubts? I would have to imagine those stories written by that version of the author would be quite interesting to say the least.
We almost can’t be that version of the author entirely. The longer we write the more we become aware of our bad habits that require adjustments. We probably should make those changes to produce better work. The weight of all of those checklists of our shortcomings and bad habits will add up over time. There is a net effect that will sometimes stifle the work instead of being integrated into our styles seamlessly. There are trade offs to giving up that raw, unfettered writer that worked for the passion of it at the beginning. The better version of us would hold on to the edge while constructing a better sentence and action scene too.
We make choices about our writing career based on the self doubts of that burdened version of ourselves we become. This is the writer that makes choices we sometimes look back on and regret. This is the guy that stops writing about zombies not because he thinks he is meant to, but because he feels like that’s what real responsible writers would do. Moving into other areas of writing is not necessarily the wrong choice, but doing it because the self conscious voices in our heads advise it probably is the wrong motivation. When we sit down to write, we should try to access that unfettered version of ourselves even just for a little while.
Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novelsLoose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com
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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!