Archives for posts with tag: writing

What turned me onto this book were recommendations from others. When people found out I was interested in writing On Writing came up. More than once, with glowing enthusiasm, and I’m so glad it did.

It’s not a story. It doesn’t have a plot. It’s not fantasy. All of these things made me hesitant and unsure about how much I would enjoy the read; it sat in a pile in my bedroom for too many weeks before the spine was cracked—and even then, only hesitantly. I always figured it would be worthwhile—it was Stephen King for christ’s sake—and although I’d never read him before, I’d always meant to. But a book about writing, something akin to essay writing, doesn’t have the same sort of pull others do.

I was absurdly wrong.

His writing is hilarious. His intelligence burns behind his words. On Writing’s got a comical autobiographical beginning that is punctured with sass, crass, and childhood accidents. Now that I’ve started reading one of his stories I can see how his life pre-writing-career affects his characters and his stories. His grit is bound up in reality and his own personality.

The latter half of the book is dedicated to language. It’s insightful, it’s vague where it should be (good writing doesn’t play by any One’s rules), it’s clear where it can be, and it’s packed with morsels of gold.

An important note: Stephen King is a prolific writer. He has a multitude of books, each of it’s own importance in literature. He does not write spoiler alert before talking about the process, start to finish, of writing of his stories; including the ends of them. Having never read one of his stories, I can now accurately tell you some endings and pivotal plot points in a certain few of his books. The Stand (currently on my bedside table with a bookmark stuck into the 167th page), and Misery, are two that come immediately to mind. He did so with well intended purpose, and the examples gave life to his points. Nevertheless, if you are a fan, and a fan who has not read all 53 of his other novels, I warn you. He only mentioned a small fraction of them, but he did mention some.

I’m not sure I recommend this to non-writers, or at least people who aren’t interested in the craft on some fundamental level.

If you are, however, this is not a book to disregard or overlook. It’s not a bore. Once I started it, I finished it quickly. It’s well written. It’s to the point. It’s intelligent.

And for the aspirant writer—it’s a must read.

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This past January I made a new years resolution: a commitment to myself and to my writing.

I’ve been writing the same two-book series for the last five or so years. Sad as that may seem, I’ve grown exponentially as a writer doing it. My story has been cultivated, evolved, and has never been better than what it is right now. I’ve written, rewritten, and restarted. This past January I promised myself that I wouldn’t everdo that again. I would never again open a fresh Word document and start my story from scratch.

I would write my story at a bare minimum for fifteen minutes a day. Extra minutes in one day wouldn’t carry over as credit to the next. But 0 minutes today would mean the added minutes tomorrow.

This year so far I have written a minimum (and I know there’s been countless more hours added to my daily fifteen minutes that has to go uncounted) of 72 hours and 15 minutes. I owe myself another two hours and fifteen minutes as of today.

Taken that other writing, i.e., blog posts, short stories, Worth1000 contests, other stories, essays, and any other type of writing I do on a daily basis do not count towards that fifteen minutes. These minutes are a dedication to my story, not just to my writing.

I’m getting there on top of school, running, family, friends, hobbies, being a University student, homework… the list of my life goes on.

And I have more going on than this two book series that’s been brewing in my head since middle school. But I’ve made a special commitment to it, and it’s stuck.

I have a passion for writing, and I dedicated myself to it. I’ve grown more this year as a writer than any other. Part of that are the diverse outlets I’ve written in. Part of that is practice. Another part is hard work.

Mostly, it’s the 72 hours and fifteen minutes.

Why do people feel that they need to be represented by a specific type of advocate that is exactly the same minority as themselves? Isn’t the point to blur those lines so that they stop becoming important?

Correct me if I’m being ignorant or offensive. But seriously. This is getting ridiculous.

I love being able to connect to my idols. But why does that need to be aesthetically or racially? Why can’t that connection just be based on shared ideals, values, or because of whatever other reason they happen to be my idol for? Sure it’s important for women to be in parliament as they want to be, and as they earn it, regardless of gender. And it’s important for minorities to be represented and spoken for. It’s 2014 in Canada and our government and our people (at least hopefully) believe in equality for all. But a prerequisite for representing a minority, or a majority, is not actually being in it. In fact, people should be encouraged to speak for factions outside of their own. Right?

By disagreeing with that is equivalent to saying, if you are not in my minority, you cannot understand me or other people in it. You can’t represent me, or grasp why I deserve the same rights as you. Therefore I will only let this person, who is perhaps less qualified than you, speak for me and for everyone else like me.

The point of encouraging equality is to eliminate barriers created by differences. That means it has to go both ways. Just because someone happens to be a blonde haired blue-eyed white girl doesn’t mean she can’t understand discrimination. It doesn’t mean she can’t stand up for other people’s rights.

Representation of all people and all definite groups is merited only in that they are a part of the population. No other prerequisite is required. We don’t run on a system where the majority is the rule. Read John Mill’s On Liberty. He celebrates the individual’s opinion above all others. He believes that the divergent view is the most important aspect in any group or society.

So yes. I’m all for diversity and the representation of minority because everyone deserves equality. However. When people start talking about how they especially love this feminist or that rights activist purely because they happen to have the same background as themselves, I get itchy. That should be a bonus, not a prerequisite.

 

Am I missing the point?