How to become an artist

writerIt seems to me that we spend our childhood building our initial vision of the world. We do our best trying to answer as many questions as possible, and in our eagerness to understand everything around us, we name things and label them and we think that we’re absolutely certain that things are exactly how we see them.

And I also feel that we always return to this initial vision. Continue reading

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Just write!


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

Quality vs. Quantity

Quality vs. QuantityA 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

All the way

give_up“If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”Charles Bukowski

Whether you believe in God or karma or simply fate odds are that at least once in your life you’ll feel as if the entire Universe is working against a specific desire of yours. And you’ll want to give up. Continue reading

A lonely job…

lonely“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.”Henry Miller

Writing is a lonely job, no doubt about it. And no matter how successful you might become, you’re still alone. It’s the inexorable truth of the writer’s condition: you sit at your desk, in an empty room or in the most crowded coffee shop, yet you’re alone. You just do your thing.

Of course, this poses a rather interesting question: if you spend that much time alone, how do you find stuff to write about? Continue reading

Titles, opening lines, and endings

titlesI have the tendency to obsess about stuff that doesn’t really matter, such as titles, opening lines, and endings. Or do they matter?

Let’s see.

There are a few books whose titles I consider to be brilliant (this might just be about personal preferences so…), such as:

  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • Darkness at Noon
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Heart of Darkness
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • The History of Love

Now, it’s obvious that a title can pique a reader’s interest enough so they actually open the book and try to read it. A great cover, an intriguing blurb, and a title that says something. I like titles that say something, even though I often choose for my own stories and novels simple titles (which is contradictory.) Continue reading

Reading Bad Reviews

Whenever a book piques my interest, the first thing I do is go on Amazon or Goodreads and read the bad reviews.

Why?

Because, for once, I believe that by reading the bad reviews you get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t in that particular book. Also, I’ve found that those who didn’t like the book are particularly more detailed in their reviews. They aren’t just raving about how awesome and freaking amazing that book was. And then I suppose it’s simply because I’m more likely to buy a book that also has some bad reviews. All five star reviews looks pretty suspicious and I just guess that reading about a book’s flaws makes me want to buy it more. Continue reading

Ten days…

Railway lines at a train station disappearing into the distance.I remember my mother coming to visit me at my grandparents one day. I remember all four of us walking around the park at sunset. The air was cool and hot at the same time, and dark waves glittered in orange and red across the lake’s surface. I would lean over the water’s edge and stare at frogs appearing at the surface and then heading back again into the water, in the process sending ripples across the water’s silvery surface. The park always smelled of mud and freshly cut grass and a wild aroma floated around. Back then, I found it to be mesmerizing and beautiful. Now it’s just a putrid smell, death and decomposition hiding away in the tall reed that grows around the water’s edge. Back then, I used to feel life scream out of every corner, out of the lake’s murky waters and it was always such a fascinating question to ask, “What lies beneath the dark, gloomy water?” What mysterious process is happening there that’s giving birth to dragonflies and fish and frogs? Now, I just find the water to be filthy and the lake appears to be some sort of graveyard, where nature is trapped in a stupid, vicious circle of death and rebirth. Continue reading