Monday, December 5, 2011

Writing Lesson

I read something wonderfully inspiring in my Creative Writing textbook this afternoon.

"Creative writing isn't about the writer. It's about the reader, having an experience, being somewhere, seeing through someone else. You don't report your emotions and thoughts, you activate your reader's. Creative writing serves readers. It's not a stage for show-offs." (The Practice of Creative Writing by Heather Sellers)

Why, I'm not sure, but this really got me thinking about why I write, how I write, and what I write about. My professor told me last week I'm a "storehouse of ideas" which, until now, I always lamented because I seem to have more ideas than time (or discipline...shh!)to write. This term I've been trying out different story excerpts, different voices all to find out where I best fit. The upcoming weeks will be poetry (not my strong suit) and I'm going to attempt to play on one more story idea in the form of a poem.


My thoughts of what story to work on, you know, when I have some spare moments, are shifting. There's that gosh-darn trilogy that I've written five times and that still needs help. There's a handful of other ideas I feel just as strongly about. And there's the idea that's been germinating in my head for about a year now, all gears and cogs and hissing. What to do?

It's easy really. What story can I put myself into, really submerge myself in? What story can I drown in and pull my reader under the waves with me? That's the really question. Not "what do I feel like writing" but "what would a reader want to read more?" Better yet, "what story is trying to get my attention?"

I know that answer to that one. It's excuses. Looks like it's time to hunker down and write with my future readers in mind. Not write to markets and trends. To write to that girl, that boy, that woman or man who will be sitting on their couch/bed/hammock/secret hideout who will turn the first page of my book, get sucked in and think, "O my word! I've finally found my way home!"

Happy Monday evening to you all...and to all a good night!


  1. I love that quote you presented from your textbook. It's so true. I need to start looking at writing that way. You always here that you should write things you know and want to write about. But really, isn't it more important what the reader wants to read about. Great post!

  2. I've always loved the advice that you should write what you want to read, because that always helps me keep the reader in mind. Good luck with poetry!

  3. It's about the reader having an experience - those are really deep and true words.
    And if you have a storehouse of ideas please send some my way...

  4. I think you have to write your own way to find your own readers. Who wants to read what has already been done?? Not I.

    Go get 'em!

  5. That's fantastic advice and it's a lesson I'm constantly having to remind myself of!

  6. I do write what I read. I thought of switching genres omce but will stick with what I have. Its working and I have a lot of fun with it. Good luck with your poetry!


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