If I knew Back Then What I Know Now…
The other day I spotted a nail salon across the street from café I was writing at. I think the angels were singing as soon as I spotted this magnificent find. The first thing I did was shove my MacBook Air into my bag and jetted out. Needless to say, I have found the perfect manicurist. She did a careful and beautiful job.
Anyway. I don’t know why I told her that I write, and I thought I said it low enough to where only she could hear me but less than a minute later, the teenager beside me was trying to get my attention.
She said, “I heard you mention you’re a writer… What do you write?”
If I cursed I think I would’ve let the “S” bomb go.
Anyway, I’m going to skip a lot here because, well–I want to. 😉
So, this girl is really young. High School age for sure. She says she wants to be a writer and really wants to major in Journalism. However her father wants her to take up a more sensible study.
And so what’s funny is I ended up siding with her father, kind of. My advice was she has a lot of time to figure out what she wants to do but if she wants to write then she needs to go out and experience as much as she possibly can and just live. Expand her horizons. Her world. I told her some of the best journalists never studied journalism, and the reason why I know this is because I found out the hard way! Yes, stupid me, wasted my time by majoring in Broadcast Journalism. I should’ve majored in Government or Linguistics or something. Maybe Sociology or English or Anthropology, ANYTHING other than the on the nose Broadcast Journalism (same as Underwater Piano Playing).
Anyway. I was happy that I at least conveyed that part. But once I thought about it, I would’ve loved to give her more pointers about how not to make the mistakes that I made. Like, study something hearty but intern in the fun stuff and a place where it counts–not at the public access station (another mistake I made) but a major network or publication. And–learn how to develop thick skin early, like NOW. 16’s a good age to grow some layers. In order to do that make sure you know yourself: how you came to be, why you think the way you do, what’s good about you, what’s ugly, who’ll you’ll like to be as a person and why. I mean, know EVERYTHING and always be willing to learn more. Always be willing to dump the ugly just throw it in the trash and burn it and build on the good. Because you can’t convey an emotion or create emotions in another human beings unless you know how to touch your own. That’s why the great actor’s are GREAT. The great writer’s are GREAT. That’s why the cream rises to the top. They’ve done THIS work. It’s hard though. Real hard.
Yep. Those are some of the things I wish I knew then but I know now.
It’s a writer’s RESPONSIBILITY to learn why you are who you are and why you believe what you believe. And to try to make sense of the world and communities that surround us.
It’s just a whole process. Bottom line–that little girl has no idea what she’s in store for if she wants to be a successful writer. If she wants to last. If she wants to be the cream that rises, and possibly to the top. That’s a whole other story–getting to the top. The top is filled with lucky people who were prepared when the opportunity presented itself.
Anyway. I’ve been having these thoughts since it happened. I wished her good luck and I’m not sure if she knew how much I meant it. 🙂 I’m pulling for her!
And now it’s time to write!
My next post is going to be about the mistake of writing backstory in real-time prose. How it can slow down the story. I’ve been downloading a lot of books with this issue lately. And I’m starting to do it at the beginning of this book I’m writing. Just keep the story in the moment. No backstory if it’s not moving forward with the story. Basically that means if the character is sitting still and thinking back then dump it! That’s information for the writer to know. It informs the writer about who the character is and what they experienced before this moment. We might be able to get in or maybe not but it just drags the story down in my opinion.
Anyway. There – said it. No new post needed. 🙂
Have a great last day of the weekend and month of June!