Written without disingenuity by a guy under a tree at the top of a hill.

I often turn to famous writers for advice, some sort of guidance so I can get better at crafting a story, constructing a character, creating a world.

Then I turn it back on myself, to see if my own thoughts on the writing process can hold any value to me or my eventual scribblings. This is what I have so far.

Writing is a waste of time, but it’s the least waste of time.

Artist and farmer are the only true useful professions.

I wonder who would call me an artist if they knew the things that I do. The things that I think.
I wonder who I’d call one.

Focus. Remember the water.

I’m a struggling writer without the struggle or the writing.

If you’re a writer, you’re a writer. And I’m not a writer. Am I?

I write for me, which is to say, I write for you.

It doesn’t need to be good. It just needs to be written down.

We’re hardest on ourselves, and we have to be.

I’m too old to get really good at anything.

A big change needs to happen, so I can be more honest, about what I want to do.

Even if what I write isn’t funny, or great, if I’m accurate in my assessment of the actual level of quality, then that can be enough.
Actually, I’ll stick with delusion.

Will the birds keep it down here? I’m trying to concentrate.
On what, I still haven’t figured out.

Ask people for help. Ask people questions.

Make jokes and references more specific.

Incorporate artists and pieces I’ve seen into my writing.

Get rid of “I think”s and “I believe”s. Be assured, even when there is no need.

I’m not reliable, so I don’t see why my narrator should be.

Unfortunately, I know very little, and this is all it is. Hopefully someday it becomes bigger. Until then, I’m just writing.

The difference between “something I like” and “something I think other people will like” is something.

Everything now is about speed, immediacy. Being the first one to break a story, to publicly declare a point of view.
Take your time. Life isn’t going anywhere. These stories mean nothing.
Write with patience.

To be able to create without concern for the current events in the world around, that is the sigh of relief.

More than the idea itself, the note needs to remind me of my mindset at the time.

Imagine if I had to defend things I said ten years ago, last month, or immediately preceding this sentence.

It must be interesting to know so many people are going to read something you wrote. That has to affect what you put out.

Some material needs to be tested in more than one medium.

Find the right word. Climbing a mountain is too passive, too common. Scale the mountain. Ascend it. Clamber if you have to. But stop climbing. It doesn’t do anyone any favours.

The trick, the technique, the talent, it’s all in the translation.

All of the writing has to come from a vague memory.
If you’re fully experiencing life, your focus is on the experience, now, and nothing else. There’s the capacity to remember so much more.
So you laugh. You have to.

Is the fact that I might be dying an excuse not to write? It should be the opposite, but it’s not.

I’ve never been tested. I’ve never tested myself.
I want to be prolific. By whose standards?
How many stories do I want to tell?

Am I inspired out of admiration, ego, boredom?
I am more inspired by substandard than otherworldly art. Or at least somewhere close to the same amount.

I would blame the internet for my laziness before, but it’s a product, not a symptom.
I need to force myself to be productive. I force myself to need to be productive.

I will never have to worry about a blank screen again.
I cannot decide whether or not I want a blank page to start.
I cannot decide whether or not I want a blank mind to start.

I’m not bouncing my stories off willing critics. That’s gotta be a mistake.
Submit. Open yourself up to criticism.

Critique not by complaining, but by making something better. Or just making something.

My ever-realized fear is that I will stumble upon (someone else’s) words that should have been mine, reading them before I get a chance to write them.

It’s supposed to inspire me to work faster. To show people. Maybe it does. But not enough.

If you inevitably hate everything you write in six months anyway, how can you not release something as soon as it’s finished?

We all need muses.
We all need to muse.

Only consume enough content to inspire you to make your own. Only ingest seeds of inspiration. Don’t be afraid of the word content, but limit your own use of it.
When you’re at a loss, read a book. Don’t turn yourself off, even if it’s the easier way at the time, even if it’s way easier.

The story is more interesting than the life. It has to be.

Answer questions with stories, not answers.

The light, the scenery, the scene – it all needs to serve the story.

Every scene should be able to stand alone.

Write stories concise and interesting enough that they can also work as a series of sentences.

I used to collect stories. Now I tell them.
Or is it the other way around?

Give more people stories. Acquire more for myself. Play different roles for single encounters.

Should I be more antagonistic in my everyday life, just for the stories?

We should be encouraged as a society to give each other stories. It’s time we realized what we’re doing here.

Unexpected relationships make for interesting stories.

Don’t advocate or pick sides. Reveal the story and let the audience figure it out for themselves.

The plot doesn’t always have to be moving forward. We don’t need conflict to be introduced, played with then resolved. A lot of life is filler. Your level of satisfaction from this filler determines how happy you are.

Find the characters, go with them, pick up their lines that I already wrote along the way.

The characters are what’s important.

It’s about people who’ve been through something together.

Find the right dynamic between characters.

Each character has their own goals, not always overt, sometimes never discovered.

They don’t need to serve the story as long as they serve themselves.

Does he serve the story? Or does he only serve the drinks?

Each character needs a level of vulnerability, enough to make you care about them, from even one standpoint.

Allow the characters to act out of character. People act differently at different times, depending on the circumstance, the company, their mood, the rest.

Most interactions in real life are people telling stories, not creating them.
The characters should tell stories.
And it’s okay for a character to forget a story halfway through. The other characters will give triggers, one word or so, trying to bring the first character back. It’s more realistic.

Unintentional self-deprecation, or unknowingly demonstrating one’s own personals quirks and flaws, is funny. Self disillusionment is funny. Mean is not.

The writing makes you feel different about the writer. The writer makes you feel different about the writing.

I don’t want to know what they look like.

I listen, organize and edit. But thet write.

Anything I write about writing that has any substance, a better writer has written before.

The reader decides what it means. The writer can only intend.

I mainly consider myself a writer because of how much I like using eponymous and penultimate. Writers fucking love those words.

Use the first “fuck” late – have it mean something. Even if it didn’t here.

How do you become a writer? I suppose you can start by writing. That’s where I get stuck.

When you’re always joking, it means more when you’re serious. Cry laughter, not wolf.

I want it to be funny because life is funny, not because (the) jokes are funny.

Even the term “making fun of” is considered to be mean. But making fun is what we should all want to contribute to.

A comedian is someone who thinks of the best thing to say five minutes later.

Write drunk, edit drunk. Submit sober. Read rejection letter drunk. Write scathing “you-don’t-know-what-you’re-missing” letter to the publisher very drunk. Regret sending letter hungover.
Go to bar sober. Tell bartender about your lost potential drunk. Yell at no one angry. Go out for a smoke agitated. Come back and have a drink calmed.

The more you learn about a medium, the less it becomes art and the more it becomes science.
I don’t want to critique as I attempt to absorb, commenting on my own consumption as it happens, losing the wonder.

Writing is solitary and reading is solitary. But the two come together to connect you with everything else, to calm you.
The invitation to join is open, but you have to write it yourself, which isn’t always easy.
It is one that you conceive yourself, that only you could have created, based on a series of experiences that you’ve had, that you cannot share with anyone else.
You can only join through practice, and reading, and learning, and dedicated thought.

As someone who writes, I don’t understand how someone can not. What do they do with their thoughts? Is this why everyone is so anxious or depressed?
I guess everyone has, or should have, their art. But writing makes the most sense for most people, doesn’t it?

I work to run with ideas more than let them disappear. Give them a life, then let them die, instead of losing the moment right after it comes to me. The ideas don’t need to be great to begin with. That’s not the determining factor as to whether or not I will follow through. It just takes a bit of effort on my part to decide to continue with it. And who knows what I might learn along the way. A relatively simple or substandard idea can turn into something meaningful to me, or ideally to someone else as well.

These things we do just for ourselves, that we don’t actually want to finish. This gets realized about halfway through, but we want to finish to prove that we can, kidding ourselves that this part is creative.

Without a project of sorts, or a hundred, however small or irrelevant, the boredom gets to be too much.

When I bore myself, that’s the worst.

I can’t try to do too much.
I can’t do too much. But I can try.

December 19 – Brandon Sanderson gets writing reflections
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