Just Keep Writing

If you were to ask me what bit of writing advice I wished someone had told me sooner, this would be the most important one; just keep writing.

Keep writing even if everyone hates what you’ve written. Keep writing even if you hate what you’ve written. Write during the good times, and the bad, write silly stuff and serous stuff. Write stuff that sounds highbrow and write stuff that sounds like glorified fan fiction. Just keep writing.

Outside of just naturally getting better at writing as you do it, this also leads to you having a large selection of writing samples. Something that might be useful if you are looking to become a professional writer.

It really is that simple, but for those of you who are not sold on this let me go further.

Maybe you’re the type of writer who likes to outline everything. These kinds of people tend to make sure they know what’s going to happen at every step of the way along the path of their story and/or poem. And many times they just never get around to writing it because they either get burned out, or it’s not good enough.

But the secret is that if that’s your attitude, it’s never going to be good enough. I get the feeling behind this type of over planning writer, I have a book I’ve written that’s not going to get published without any sort of major rewrite. It sucks that it feels like I wasted all that time working on something that only a select group of people are going to see. But here’s the secret, all that time I spent working on that book–was not a wast of time.

I learned how to improve my spelling, my grammar, and my time management skills. Saying I’ve written a book in a job interview is how I’ve gotten more then a few job offers, because the skills that I developed while writing translate well to the “real world.”

It’s a tad mementic, but “just do it,” is often times the best way to get started on anything. So no matter what anyone tells you about wasting time, or needing to plan better–my advice will always be just keep writing.

But that’s just what I think….

Why I Communicate in Poetry

After deciding that I wanted to post more then just poetry and fiction on my blog here I opened a new blog post on my wordpress app–and then I froze. What did I actually want to write about that I haven’t already said or done though one of my poems? It’s an odd thought, at first blush, that maybe I find it easier to speak my mind though poetry. But when I considered it further it started to make more since. And what I found as I thought about this deeper both encouraged me, and disturbed me.

The good news first, poetry can hold, and express complex thoughts that words and sentences cannot. That’s always something I think people who don’t focus a lot on this medium have a hard time understanding; how a few words can sometimes be more meaningful and informative then a twenty page paper with properly cited sources and well researched topics. It’s a strange art that can stretch meaning beyond it’s normal boundaries. using the same limited everyday language that people struggle to use to express themselves, we can express almost every emotion and experience within the range of humanity, those we understand, and many that we don’t understand. There are simply a lot of things that I would not be able to say or explain without the use of poetry.

But upon reflecting on my poetry more, a darker thought occurred to me. Many times I hide behind my poetry as well. We live in a world where people get killed over posts on social media. I won’t go into detail on that since some of the specifics are far sadder and more tragic then I want to get bogged down with on this post. But as social media shapes more and more of our understanding of other people beyond their actual lived experience it’s simply easier to hide behind my art. Art and poetry are still protected and given more leniency form some of the toxic arguments and debates that can brake out on social media nowadays. I can still express how I feel about something without the pain of paying the social price of holding any given opinion. And maybe that’s not a good thing….

There is another way to look at this too–many times I write from other peoples perspective, I imagine that I’m someone I’m not and write from their perspective. This seems to give me more empathy then I would normally have towards people of different political persuasions then myself.

Perhaps all of this just means that there is no one superior way to think, to write, or to express one’s self. My poetry and my tendencies as a poet gives me strengths, but it also gives me weaknesses as well. And maybe the next step of my growth as a poet is to acknowledge this.

But that’s just my thoughts….