Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: writing books

Writing Paradoxes

Yesterday, I re-blogged a post from Roz MorrisThree Paradoxes of the Writing LifeRoz Morris - Author

Today, I’m going to comment on those paradoxes

First, though, let me tell you a bit about Roz:

She’s an extremely successful Ghostwriter.

She’s written three excellent books about writing.

She’s written two fantastic works of fiction.

She’s available for Speaking and Tutoring.

She’s a Book Doctor.

She has her own Radio Show.

I’ve Re-blogged her numerous times.

And, I’ve written about her before

So, let’s get back to Roz’s blog post—Three Paradoxes of the Writing Life.

Obviously, I recommend you actually take that link and read her post first.

Then, my ruminations about the paradoxes she raises may make more sense

Back so soon…?

Actually, I know most of you never left—that’s totally cool—plus, her post has many links to other posts she’s written—very helpful for gaining knowledge but it will take a bit of time to read them all—though, I am comforted that there are other folks out there, like me, who do lots of internal linking :-)

O.K., I’ll lay out the paradoxes Roz wrote about and see what I can glean from my experience

1. “We must produce, but never rush.”

For many years, I thought about writing, thought I might be somewhat good at it, thought that when Life stopped yanking me around I’d make a go of it

I began serious writing in my late 50s

Since then (I’m nearly 70 now…), I’ve written and published 5 books; but, I’ve had three blogs before this one; and, this one has over 1,300 posts (that’s somewhere around 500,000 words just in this blog…).

I suppose I’ve nailed that “never rush” part—started late, have no definitive schedules, willing to wait till my Muse screams at me

Still, I hope for about 20 more years so I can be even more productive; and, the advancing years will nearly guarantee I don’t “rush” :-)

One more word about Production:

Unless you want to be sucked down a miserable materialistic hell-hole, resist the urge to write the way and publish at the speed most of the “experts” tell you to.


If you really want to produce work that folks can read swiftly, that won’t rock their boat at all, and that will soon be completely forgotten, go ahead; but, hang on tight when that hell-hole starts sucking

2. “We learn from others, but teach ourselves.”

I think that learning from others first means a writer had better read as many of the books of as many “good” writers as possible.

Defining “good” depends on the kind of writing you want to do; but, if you’re not yet sure what kind of writing you need to pursue, my advice is to read the “Classics” (ancient and modern) and read authors that you think write well

Obviously, as you progress in your reading/learning, your conception of what’s well-written will change

Still, reading a massive amount of books isn’t, by far, the only way a writer learns from others—just wake up, get dressed, and walk down the street; or, wake up, and start watching YouTube—Life activities should be learning experiences (except for those who aspire toward severe depression…).

“teach ourselves”?

For me this is simple:

You sit down and write something—anything

Perhaps you then get up and do a few chores

You sit back down and read what you wrote and, perhaps, change it

If you really get into a stint of writing, you may have to do a bit of research

Just be sure to sit back down and incorporate the research into what you’ve already written

Keep this kind of activity up for prolonged periods and you just might become a good writer.

I can’t help but say, though, that a particularly good way to learn from someone else while teaching yourself would be to study Roz Morris’ books about writing.

3. “We make our own rules but recognise when we’re wrong.”

Obviously, if you’re just starting out as a writer, you may have a very small kit of “rules”; and, I certainly hope you haven’t “borrowed” those “rules” from the ever-present and exceedingly pushy “WebWritingExperts”

Crafting a story may be relatively easy—crafting your own endurable rules of writing is a labor of love.

If you’re intent on nailing down some rules for yourself, try starting by making sure you’re somewhat clear about Why you want to write

Hows are meaningless without Whys.

But, even my own all-time fav fiction writer, C. J. Cherryh, finished her short set of “rules” with, NO RULE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED OFF A CLIFF…

So, there are a few of my thoughts on those writing paradoxes.

Now, I heartily encourage you to go read Roz
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“Sucky Experts” and Literary Goblins

Our last post referenced a blog article that cautioned self-publishing authors against “subsidy” publishers masquerading as “Indie” publishers.

Today, I’m going to direct you to a post by Ollin Morales called, Telling Someone They “Suck” Isn’t Advice–It’s Just Plain Evil.

He begins the post with these words:

“The more a writer makes her way through the world of blogs and books on writing, the more she will encounter a rather unexpected challenge to her writing career: experts who are eager to tell her that she sucks.”

I must be particularly lucky in that regard but I certainly know many folks who have had the experience.

He goes on with:

” It’s almost as if these ‘Sucky Experts’ enjoy seeing a writer’s hopes and dreams dashed all to pieces. They’ll focus on all the negative aspects….There are even some Sucky Experts who will tell you you’re just not gonna ‘make it’. ‘Give up now’, they say, ‘because your dreams will never come true’.”

I urge you to read the whole post because Ollin is quite good at detailing the why of this negative tirade: these sucky experts want your money

Of course, this type of approach has been in use by charlatans for as long as there have been things to sell.

It’s even prevalent in certain “religious” movements.

It even occurs in the dating scene.

I’m going to give you a mild challenge to entice you to read Ollin’s whole post by listing the three beliefs he indicates as the foundation of this approach to making you part with your money (or body, or soul). See if you can supply a rationale for these beliefs (even though it’s an irrational rationale), before you go read Ollin’s explanations:

“One belief is that self-punishment and self-hatred is the only way to success.”

“The second belief is scarcity.”

“The third belief is in absolutes.”

I find this particular part of his post quite fascinating:

Sucky Experts think that they’re giving you ‘tough love’ in order to make you ‘stronger’. But what these Sucky Experts fail to recognize is that life is already bringing writers down. Life is already giving us TRUCKLOADS of tough love–tough love that should be defeating us, but somehow we’ve managed to be stronger for it.”

There is more, and it really is worth any writer’s time to read the whole post; including all the intriguing Comments :-)
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