The following is ONLY the First chapter in the quintessential Storytelling Masterclass SAGA. I started the course out with this, because I see waaaaaay too many writers, with a completely fucked up attitude/mindset towards writing. (and not per se copywriting, or for a funnel and or sales and or landing page). They love to call themselves aspiring writers, or writers to be or something weak and lame. And when they are brave enough to be a writer and do the writing, the intent is not there and its lackluster and with halfhearted illnatured weak emotional frame behind it.
So without further ado, enjoy the following, what I think is the right course of action if you want a reverbarating totemic impact on society with ur writing, whilst enjoying the ride as you type type type, mean its gonna get hella boring if you dont like writing. It all starts with joy.
This is perhaps the most important lesson you will learn, and most people get writing completely wrong. They think it’s hard, and difficult, and complex, and stressful. Wrong. No. You’re setting yourself up for failure that way, and priming the mind completely wrong.
Writing is fun.
Writing should bring you joy, or else you’re in the wrong business. That’s why I started this course with a quote of my favorite author. He sees writing as daydreaming, enjoying the process, and the rest is just typing.
Here’s an excerpt of an interview with Child:
“The real fun is the feeling at the end of the day when you’ve ripped through an epic scene. I’m surprised at how tired it makes me. Then the next morning, I lie in bed for half an hour and wander through what needs to happen today. That’s just perfect joy. There can’t be anything better than lying in bed, getting paid for making up stories.”
So remember this is supposed to be fun.
And the reason why it should be fun has to do with output, too. Think about a time where you just couldn’t write. Writer’s block. But when you did crank it out, it was utter shit. Or when you NEEDED to write. Forcing yourself. It was utter shit. Writing, in any form, is a very creative process.
This process is more about art, then it is about following a strict baking recipe. There are no hard rules, just principles. When you ride on your writing to succeed, when it needs to bring in food on the table, that’s exactly when you’ve failed as a writer. You have let necessity dictate the output of your writing. This will most likely stifle your writing, and your voice. When you have fun on the other hand, in the process, watch your writing soar and sing. Your voice will be heard.
If you read, you can write. — L. Child.
You’re the Writer
If you’re reading this you’re a writer. If you can read, you can write. I tell you this not to make you feel better, but from a logical point of view. As of now, you are a writer, it’s not hard to be a writer. It may not be easy, but it’s simple.
The only qualification you need to be a writer is to be a reader.
Remember when I told you I had read 400+ books? So the moment I heard Child saying the only qualification for a writer is to be a reader something in me awoke. My writing voice started humming, deep inside.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview from Child:
“You’ve got to have read thousands of books and then you internalize that rhythm. You internalize the grammar of cliffhangers and pace and so on.”
You are the writer. Not somebody else. Their writing is not your writing. The reason you must ignore advice is because your writing has to be a natural product from your mind. It’s got to be an organic product with an own vitality. With a beating heart.
That you must ignore advice does not mean you can’t be inspired by other authors. I was inspired by Child, and his influence is heavily present in this course. But there’s a fine line between being your own type of writer and letting others influence you too much.
I present to you a concept I learned in Classics School:
Imitatio, Translatio, Aemulatio.
It’s Latin for imitate, transcribe, and improve.
As a budding new writer you’re going to imitate. This is the part where you as a reader are a writer. You have internalized countless books, so it’s natural that your voice is a slight copy of others. Nothing wrong there.
But the next step is of importance and is where you step away from your sources of inspiration. You go for it yourself. But you still transcribe some old pieces of writing or techniques or narrative devices you’ve learned from others. I do this, to this date. I use very specific techniques I learned from Child, Hemingway, and McCarthy.
Finally you will forget everything you learned and channel your true voice. In your mind you have gotten better than your old self, and will have improved significantly, even better perhaps than the greats.
When you love what others are doing, you don’t want to imitate it. You want to do your own thing. You want to improve on it, or mix it up. Find what nobody else is doing, and do that instead.
Reading other writers is just the blueprint for your own true storytelling voice.
-Writing should bring you joy. If it does not, the quality of your work will suffer.
-If you can read, you can write. Find inspiration from others, take away what you can, but improve on your own. Don’t listen to others. Build your own voice.
Now that we got two bullshit myths out of the way, let’s bust another. I mentioned leaving the writing group. One, they didn’t have the skin in the game. Two, and in my opinion more important, you need to understand the following:
“The fundamental reality about the writing business. It’s lonely. You spend all your time writing and then wondering whether what you just wrote is any good.”
This is Child’s take, and I love it. I don’t like people holding my hand, giving me nonsense advice, because in the end, the only one who is going to do it, is me. It’s on me. No one is writing this course for me. No one wrote all those other books I wrote, and sold. No. I need to do the work.
You need to do the work. You are on your own.
Like I said, this course is not to make you feel good, it’s to make you understand the underlying principles of storytelling. I told you have fun, you can write, but you must do it alone.
You probably get bombarded with you why. Find you why. What is your why? Et cetera. Thing is if you don’t care, intimately, about why you’re doing something you won’t finish the job. You will procrastinate. In your mind, the act, in this case writing, has no use.
I, personally, will tell you one thing about motivation and bullshit writer’s block. (go here to go to another blogpiece where I completely bust the writers block myth). And it’s the only thing you need to hear:
Watch the bills stack up and watch writer’s block vanish.
Child himself had almost no money starting out, and had to make it as an author. He was not having fun I can tell you this. Check it out:
“It wasn’t a hobby, it wasn’t for fun, it wasn’t for satisfaction. I wasn’t one of these people that felt compelled to write. It had to keep a roof over our heads, so it was totally, totally 110% commercially motivated.”
Thank you for reading. The writers mindset was just one chapter, spanning around 10-15 pages, of the FULL SAGA Writing Masterclass, which has dozens of chapters more, with a full count of almost 300 pages of sheer writing gold. If the above peeked your interest how to be a proper writer, check out more about SAGA here.