Friday, December 30, 2011

The End (Of the Year)


It’s nearly the end of the year.  I began this blog somewhere along the lines of one year ago, back when I had no clue what I was doing (now I have a twinkle of a clue, but it keeps hiding behind the freezer).

I cannot believe how many things I’ve learned during this time.  Here is a little list of the most important things (regarding writing):

1)  I don’t need a publisher to approve my work.  I defended against this point furiously until I finally came to the realisation that I was wrong.  A publisher is a business and they are in the business of repeating past success and can therefore not be trusted to approve the validity of a new work that stretches borders.  I learned to write for more for myself (though you never really write only for yourself) and less for the publishers.

2)  I’ve been struggling along in the lines of describing things too much and too little, but I finally found a perfect middle in which things make sense for me.  Describe only what is different.

3)  Revision was always an oddly-shaped cloud hanging over me.  This year I’ve finally figured out the point.  Revising isn’t about fixing little mistakes.  It’s about finding the things you want said and saying it.  Putting in motivation and changing things until they work.  Revising is about finding your true story.  After realising this, I could finally figure out the meaning behind ‘the first draft is always crappy’.  Characters and motivations can be added and removed at will.  Nothing is set in stone.

4)  Writing and living goes hand in hand.  What you write comes from experiences, so you can’t just sit in a room with a notebook.  You must live and experience the world to be able to describe it to others who sit in a room with a book.

5)  Writing is not about money.  This should seem obvious, but at the beginning of the year, the notion that I could become stinking rich was very ripe in my head.  Not a “I’m definitely going to be rich!” notion, but a “Maybe I’ll write a best-seller and become rich”.  But somewhere along the line, I realised that writing for a living will probably (almost certainly) be a life of poverty and scraping just enough money to make the rent of a sloppy apartment in a bad neighbourhood and maybe even a day job.  And I don’t care.  I accept that and I embrace that.  I will write for next to nothing, but I will do what I love for the rest of my life.

Finally, and most importantly, 6) There are no rules.  Every single best-selling author has other advice.  Follow your gut and hope for the best.

That’s all.  Happy new year to all of you.

By the way, my most popular post by far is my explanation of how binary works.  Guess I disappointed (or educated) quite a few people who were looking for computer-y information.


  1. It took me a lot longer to figure all that out than it did you. Hope it leads to a prodcutive new year for you.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  2. Thanks Mood. I hope all this helps me.

  3. Those are some great realizations. Here's to a prosperous new year where you will have great success in your writing. :-)

  4. Thanks. I hope you'll catch up with those lost rewrites soon, and maybe it'll be even better.

  5. Aww, love this post! I love the "describe what is different" line, and of course, there are no rules. I believe that so deeply that it's in my blog header. Love it. Hope this year is also filled with tons of discovering!

  6. The no rules one had actually been a particularly hard one for me to swallow, but I'm glad I did.

    Thanks for stopping by, Michelle.