Ideally I like to think of myself as a writer because basically I like writing. But liking something does not necessarily justify that I am what I like. Writing requires serious discipline and the need to keep that as a progressive rhythm. one is not a writer by simply having the gift of writing. It requires a lot of time alone, sitting down thinking, writing, editing, discarding, thinking through and all that hard stuff.
I read of people like the novelist Jonathan Franzen who locks himself up for hours, alone and by himself. Being disciplined enough to sit down without the distraction of the internet or anything by that matter. Read about the article about him here on Time. I wish I was that committed in writing but at least I share the same first name as Franzen. (Ironically, Franzen sees his disciplined manner in writing as something as freedom! But you will get the picture when you read the article about what he has to say about that. I guess that would be another idea for a post that i would soon pen for a later date.)
In a post about writing McKnight states that
The Writing Life is about routine, day after day, month after month, year after year, and it takes a decade or more for The Writing Life to make sense and to be natural. If I miss a few days it gets hard to get back into the rhythm, and a week or two away and it takes at least two days to feel comfortable again.
He goes on to note what Harper Lee stated about writing to some students who asked her what is it like to be a writer
To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron fisted. It’s sitting down and doing it whether you think you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it’s heartbreak most of the time.
Reading through it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the coherence of what these seasoned writers are saying about writing. To write well takes discipline and not of the ordinary kind. Discipline is key in all what the say. Talent is needed but it’s not the whole issue of being a good writer. Again it’s discipline and routine even when we feel not in the mood to write.
Right now I’m feeling like not in the mood to write although I’m writing now as we speak or blog for that matter. At the moment I’m hitting brick walls in writing my assignments which is not a good position to be in. Part of the reason is that I’m a bit disappointed with the grade of one of my subjects that I got recently. Now that’s sort of lame excuse to not write I reckon. But like always it’s a wake up call for me that is if I want to improve at this art. Well at least I don’t have to be ultra talented to be a good writer. It’s a skill one learns by discipline which everyone is not exempted with. One can’t improve on natural talent inherent in them but one can improve on discipline.
In conclusion I’d like to pose this question. Is there any good advice other than the ones mentioned above at improving on writing? What do you do when you hit brick walls and nothing productive comes up in writing? And it would be helpful if one could critique some of my own writing on this blog and the other stuff I wrote. I’d love to hear your views on the questions that I ask here.
(Here’s some good advice that C. S. Lewis gave on writing well.)