Write like you own it!
I have been reading, mostly flash and short fiction, recently in an attempt to catch up on what is going on and get back to reading (fiction). I could now say something like – I don’t want to be critical but … but I am going to be critical and not because I have any authority but because I think that it needs saying. Some of you people aren’t taking your writing seriously enough. I know that’s going to come back to haunt me. It is not a question of style or grammatical errors, I am sure that if you have been curious enough to read this far then your abilities are far greater than mine. Indeed, most of it is impeccably written from a grammatical point of view, and even the structure is good – and more. Having said that, what I want to talk about is attitude.
Attitude, for me at least, is the single most important trait in absolutely anything you do. It is what defines you far beyond what you wear, the colour of your hair or your political views. Of course we could have the attitude of – who gives a shit – and while that tells me a lot, it also means I keep walking by. Similarly, as a writer, we could find ourselves saying – oh, that will be fine/nice/alright. Stop. The minute someone says something is “nice”, alarm bells should start going off. If you don’t think that your writing is as good as Vonnegut, Marquez, insert-your-most-revered-author, then why not? Seriously! You need to ask yourself what makes them so good while my writing remains “nice”? And you should answer – Nothing! Because there is no reason.
OK, not everyone is cut out to be the best writer ever but if you are already writing and putting it out there, what is stopping you from taking that next step up. To start with, probably a lot of hard work and let’s be clear about that – people have actually died from hard work – anyone telling you differently has never worked hard. Attitude is, perhaps unfortunately, related to self-confidence. We all know self confidence, it’s arms come flailing up from the depths of despair and punch the sky on those rare occasions when we actually write something that is so good we are not ashamed of it. If you haven’t done so already, you need to just live with that and write like you are the most awesomest of awesome writer and write with conviction, write with authority, most importantly, write like you own it!
[This previously appeared on my site: Harry Tuttle MCD but I wanted to recycle it - even if I've been reading some > nice stuff recently.]