January 23, 2017

Six writing-related things I’ll never do again

While looking through a long list of blog post ideas posted on another site, I found “Ten things you’ll never do again” and thought it sounded pretty cool. I drafted such a post, but decided it wasn’t that interesting (my list mostly involved foreign foods and misguided clothing choices, and this isn’t a lifestyle blog). Then I hit upon the idea of making a list of writing-associated activities and choices I've left behind for good. I only came up with six positions, though. 
Here they are, listed for your amusement: six writing-related things I'll never, ever do again. 

1. Write in another writer’s voice

This often happens to very young, inexperienced writers, and as a teen, I wasn’t immune. After reading The Lord of the Rings at age 13, I started writing high fantasy stories where the narrator’s voice sounded like a poor imitation of J.R.R. Tolkien. I still cringe when I recall them!

2. Write rhyming poetry

I used to write rhyming poems in my early teenage years. Needless to say, they were NOT good! I stopped trying when I was 16 or so. I lack the patience to practice this particular skill, and practice is necessary if you want to create brilliant rhymes, not just so-so ones. 

3. Name a heroine “Sarin”

I was clueless enough to do this in one of my first fantasy stories. Mitigating circumstance: I was 13. The name sounded so nice! Two years later, while leafing through a chemistry textbook, I learned that sarin is a deadly nerve agent.

4. Type first drafts on a typewriter

I tried this very briefly when I was 16 or 17. I used one of my father’s old typewriters (he used to earn extra income typing in the 1970s and 80s, before computers came into use). It didn’t match my work style at all; I delete so many words and phrases from my first drafts, the pages ended up looking like a total mess. I can type 
on a computer (the Backspace key is my best friend) or write by hand on loose sheets of paper, but typing on a typewriter is out.

5. Read a book purely for pleasure

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of writing fiction is that one finds it increasingly difficult (or even impossible!) to read books just for pleasure. Now, whenever I read anything, be it a 5000-word short story or a 100,000-word novel, I take mental notes of the author’s ideas, plot, characters, worldbuilding skills, as well as any glitches in the language. This doesn’t necessarily kill my enjoyment, but it definitely changes the reading experience.

6. Agree to have a meet-the-author session when I’m pretty sure nobody will come

This happened to me a couple of times at small local Polish sf&f conventions. The organizers invited me to have a meet-the-author session, but the convention as a whole didn’t attract a large number of people and nobody was interested in talking with a little-known niche author. I don’t know about other authors, but this sort of situation makes me feel like an idiot.

If anyone is reading this – do you have similar experiences you’d like to share? Comments are always welcome!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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