December 4th, 2008

Carrie Now

Writing Advice That's Sort of Secret

So, this week at the Tollbooth we're each giving one bit of writing advice that's sort of secret.

So, this is my advice:
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DO NOT SIGN UP WITH A LOCAL INTERNET PROVIDER WHO WILL ALLEGEDLY EMBEZZLE FUNDS FROM HIS EMPLOYEES' 401K ACCOUNTS AND THEN DISCONNECT THE SERVICE, THE SERVER AND THE PHONE LINES AND THEN EVERYONE INCLUDING YOUR EDITORS AND YOUR AGENT AND YOUR MOTHER WILL TRY TO SEND YOU AN EMAIL AND THEY WILL GET A MESSAGE THAT YOU DON'T EXIST.



No. Sorry. That's not it. Although that is good important advice I wish someone had told me before last week.

Below is my real advice and it's not about computer fraud or even strictly about the craft of writing. Instead it's about the mind state of being a writer.

Yes, the mind state.

Yes, that sounds hokey.

The thing is that sometimes writing is easy.
The thing is that sometimes writing is not... easy.

These are the days of writers. People blog. They text. They NaNoWriMo. You are one of those people. You know that it's hard. I know that it is not easy for me to be one of those people, a writer in the days of writers and especially in these times of economic turmoil where people are getting laid off or fired and entire publishing houses are restructuring, trying to stay alive.

Let me tell you something about writers in these days of writers.  Sometimes when we look at a page we see the world. Sometimes when we look at a page we see hope. Sometimes when we look at a page we see nothing at all.



But even on those horrible days -- those self doubt/writer angst days -- we approach the page anyway. We lurch towards it, hands bloodied, heart attacking our ribs. We lurch towards it because we want so badly to reach out to others; we want so badly to make story; we want so badly to be heard.

Writers matter. Stories matter. You matter.

It all matters despite the economy, or maybe even more so because of it.
It all matters despite the fact that the whole world can write and blog and text, or maybe even more so because of it.

So we lurch. So we bother. So we search our mirrors and our lives. So we search in hearts and in actions and we make stories.

No matter what: We make stories.

So go on. Read and study, think and play, feel the truths that form solid hard in the gut and in the throat. Write your stories, blogs, texts, and poems and don't worry if it's Proust or gobbley gook or even if it will get published.

That's my secret advice: Just write.

You owe it to the world and the world owes it to you.