“Worry destroys the ability to write.” — Ernest Hemingway
Maybe you’re familiar with Franz Kafka’s short story, A Hunger Artist, maybe you’re not. It doesn’t really matter. One of the main themes of the story (the way I see it) is the fact that artists most often feel misunderstood by their audience. And they’re furious because of that.
That’s a myth.
Most often than not it’s the artist’s inability to show people what he wants to show them that gets in the way. Continue reading
I spent most of today sleeping. Not because I was tired, but mostly because I felt like doing nothing. When I finally decided to get out of bed and write some stuff, the power went out. Ironic, isn’t it? I had spent most of my day telling myself that tomorrow I’ll have plenty of time to write, and when I couldn’t, I panicked.
There are few simple truths in life, and one of them is the fact that we rarely appreciate what we have until we lose it. Until it can no longer be. We tend to take things for granted, and when those things are taken from us, that’s when we realize how important they were.
We’ve always despised the ghost of what can no longer be. Continue reading
When I first started this blog back in April 2012 I had absolutely no plan whatsoever. I had tried blogging for a few weeks back in January 2011, but it didn’t work out because I couldn’t find any readers.
The thing is, the Internet is pretty much a bizarre world. Yes, you’ve got millions and millions of people, so the potential is there, but at the same time you can’t stop asking yourself how on Earth are all these people going to find you among so many others who are doing kind of the same thing?
So, instead of focusing your time and energy on what you’re doing, you keep trying to find something unique and brilliant, something no one else has ever thought of doing before. Continue reading
“Four years before I had written Soldiers’ Pay. It didn’t take long to write and it got published quickly and made me about five hundred dollars. I said, Writing novels is easy. You don’t make much doing it, but it is easy. I wrote Mosquitoes. It wasn’t quite so easy to write and it didn’t get published quite as quickly and it made me about four hundred dollars. I said, Apparently there is more to writing novels, being a novelist, than I thought. I wrote Sartoris. It took much longer, and the publisher refused it at once. But I continued to shop it about for three years with a stubborn and fading hope, perhaps to justify the time which I had spent writing it. This hope died slowly, though it didn’t hurt at all. One day I seemed to shut a door between me and all publishers’ addresses and book lists. I said to myself, Now I can write. Now I can make myself a vase like that which the old Roman kept at his bedside and wore the rim slowly away with kissing it. So I, who had never had a sister and was fated to lose my daughter in infancy, set out to make myself a beautiful and tragic little girl.” – William Faulkner, An Introduction to The Sound and The Fury
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “art for art’s sake.” I’ve always considered it to be one of the most crucial stages any artist must go through.
It’s easier said than done, mostly because we feel life’s a competition. We play to win, and the pleasure of simply playing the game is not enough. Continue reading
Odds are that one day you’ll start working on a story for longer than usual. Odds are that you’ll try to make it perfect, even when it’s clear that you’re just afraid to let it go. You’ll fear rejection and bad reviews. You’ll think you’re not good enough to write the story the way it deserves to be written. You haven’t lived long enough and stuff like that.
Maybe you do so because you feel this story’s the “one.” This is the story where you actually say something no one else can, where you leave behind more of you than you’ve done before. It’s the story that defines who you are more than anything else ever written. Continue reading
A couple of days ago I read an article by a Romanian writer, in which he said that the way we perceive certain foreign authors in Romania is different than how they are perceived in their home countries. The reason for this is that only their best works are available in Romania, thus readers have a distorted perception.
Somehow, this idea that a bad novel can counter-balance a good one makes sense. It’s something that often happens with prolific writers: some of their stuff is good, some great, but a lot is also mediocre at best.
But the writer of that article said that the key to all this is to write for a couple of years on a collection of poems, short stories, or a number of novels and then only choose to publish the best of them. This solution is something I disagree with. Continue reading
From time to time I contemplate the idea of abandoning my dream of becoming a full time writer. I get all kinds of ideas in my head. I’m just pretending to be a writer, and I’m not really good enough, and that I should simply give up.
A couple years ago, before I started this blog, one of my uncles asked me about my writing. Back then I was uploading stories on Wattpad, and I was having a lot of fun. So I told him that I had talked with a girl from Etiopia, who said that she really enjoyed my stories. So much that she cried.
And, well, he asked me about money. Was I earning enough?
In fact, I wasn’t making money at all. And I told him that, and I told him that when a stranger genuinely appreciates your art, that’s worth more than all the money in the world.
I was happy back then. Continue reading
I’ve been blogging for little over two years now. It’s been fun. I’ve got the chance to connect with people from all over the world and learn new stuff. Also, I kind of realized my words matter.
But the guy who’s sitting in his chair, staring at his computer screen, asking himself whether or not to start a blog might be wondering if he has something to say. Continue reading
Writing is a profound and elemental aspect of life. A form of communication, a method by which man tries to feel less lonely. Even though it may appear to be a simple gesture, deeply rooted in our culture and tradition, writing is sometimes subject to odd habits and superstitions. Continue reading
Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most influential writers of this century, passed down a simple list of rules for writing a short story, though I think they can be applied to longer narratives as well.
He did say that Flannery O’Connor broke all his rules except the first and that great writers tend to do that, but I believe his famous eight rules can provide a skeleton to writing fiction.
And I think that this is what’s really important in art. A foundation. Simply by reading or following rules, or by taking creative writing courses, but it’s also crucial for the artist to make his own decisions. The moment rules start feeling like a cage, you should escape. It’s like strolling through a garden and picking the flowers you like. If you absorb too much or if you simply follow rules (someone else is choosing what flowers you should pick), you’ll never develop a style of your own.
In a world of fixed rules, there’s no room for improvement. Or improvisation. Or evolution.
In today’s post, I’m going to analyze Vonnegut’s famous rules, most of which are common sense anyway. So let’s get started. Continue reading