Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Pull to Write

Recently, a fan of CLG Entertainment and The Write Life for You articles I write contacted me. The fan, a writer, asked, "How do you know if you have the talent to pursue writing? Words have always had a powerful pull on me, but I don't know if I can actually write ... Do you have medicine for my affliction?"

I wanted to share my response because I think it might be beneficial to those of you out there feeling, thinking the same thing.

You know, the need to pursue writing often comes before one even KNOWS if he or she has talent. It comes from a desire, a need to express something. The fact that you're pulled to write is BIG. For me, writing was always a NEED. Started writing when I was 10, and it was all about looking at the world and writing what interested me, and then that moved to what I didn't understand, and then that moved to what I hated, and then that moved to what I wanted to be made right, and on and on.

That pull to write is important because it will warm your heart when you're rejected, it will urge you on when you receive criticism, and it will move you to want to learn so that you can better your craft.

First and foremost, I think you need to KEEP the pull. Recognize it. Communicate with it. Nurture it.

Allow the pull to keep you writing.

As you write, think about what you seem "called" to write about. This calling isn't set in stone, but it's a great place to begin to think about who you are as a writer and what you hope to convey in your writing.

As you write, READ. Read works you deem "good," and be able to illustrate to yourself why they are good and what you can glean from these findings for your own writing.

As you write, READ. Read works you deem "bad," and be able to illustrate to yourself why they might be bad and what you can glean from these findings for your own writing.

As you write, READ. Read works about writing, especially those books that delve into the errors you find you make consistently in your work. You want your problems to become tools to fill your writer's toolbox.

Connect with other writers, especially those willing to read and critique your work. It's important to know what you want to get out of a critique group and what you can bring to that group; you do not just want to jump into a group and wallow within it. And be open to constructive criticism.

And almost as important as your writing these days is your platform - who you are, what you stand for, how your writing reflects this, who you connect with, network with, how you BRAND yourself.

But ultimately, I think it is about the PULL. If you don't feel moved to write, who will be compelled to read WHAT you write?

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell, will be released June 2010; you can read an excerpt here. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

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  1. Shon,

    Great post - it certainly chimes with me. The urge to write is *definitely* a need.


  2. I agree. It's that pull which keeps us going. You need it to be a writer and handle all the ups and downs.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Connected with this post very much. Thank you.

  4. So true -- and excellent advice on reading. We learn as much from reading great authors in our preferred genres as we do from "how to" books.

  5. Great post. Thanks for sharing and for reminding me to READ. That's where I fall down as I'm always reading my own work, critiquing other people's work or judging contests.

  6. Writing sounds easy, but you learn otherwise. You have to have that pull and need or you won't have the desire to keep at it.

    Good post.

    Straight From Hel

  7. So true, Shon. I have been compelled to write since I was very young, too, and the focus has always been on the writing, not the selling or the publishing - although both are nice - but the need to say something starts it all.

  8. Thanks for the comments! I had to remind the person who e-mailed me that things won't always go perfectly. Sometimes we won't read for whatever reason. Even I've been bad of that as I seem to edit others' works more than I even write my own or read for pleasure or learning. Thing is remembering that need to write so that you can KEEP writing and learning about writing.

  9. Thanks for the article, I enjoyed reading it.

  10. The Pull to Write sounds a lot like a Calling. I agree with this assessment completely. Trust those "pulls!"


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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