clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Right Words

At left, from the Catacombs of Paris - a photograph of words "unearthed" by Jerome Bon and used here from wikicommons in accordance with the terms of use: attribution.

Thanks Jerome.

We're writers. We know the value of the right words. Hemingway famously wrote but 350 words a day in normal production declaring the effort sufficient - for the 350 right words.

No one is quite sure how many it took him to find those 350.

I write today of encouragement.

Nobody has more ability to influence aspiring writers than ...other writers. The right word, at the right time, to the right audience.

It works for our own prose.

It also works for the prose we've not yet read from hands who have yet to conquer their own insecurities and self-doubt.

That is where it lays, you know. The whole writing business lays in self-doubt.

You have to own up to improving your own words for the most critical audience in the world: you.

There's no short-cut. There's no substitute.

Before you can sell you own work, you damn sure should be convinced of its own merit.

When you don't yet know how to recognize merit in your own words, encouragement is critical.

Later, your aptitude and perception and ability and appraisal sense will mesh and you'll know "it's all shit" from "oh my Dog! What was I thinking? What a pile of wrong choices."

Early though, you don't know the difference in your own work.

You have to keep writing for that to come through. You have to read the works of other unpublished writers to recognize your own faults. You have to kill your own ego and understand that "good" is a brutal leveling field criteria that separates "sold and published" from "novelty horseshit."

When you are going through it; when you think you've made the commitment to the effort it takes ( and when you make that "commitment," you really have no idea what you are undertaking. If you did, you'd just go improve your tennis game and blow the whole writing business right off), you fumble a bit and a little time later think it was all some form of delusion.

It is then you need a little encouragement.

If you are a writer, you understand that point I make.

You have an obligation to help someone who is struggling.

You have that obligation until the last breath you take because somewhere in your writing career, somebody did it for you and you had know idea that's what they were doing.

You're older now. You are wiser.

You're obligated.


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