Writing from Life: Today's Manifesto
So many people have book projects in the back of their minds. It's one of those yearnings particularly plagued with self-doubt and many false starts. Been there, done that. I keep imagining that I'll do a high-class Powerpoint presentation of the process -- a learning history. While I may be a bust at self-marketing, I do know how to produce a book and I do know how to make a gift of it.
I'd like to do one of those cool slideshows, with the animated doodles, but, alas, all I can eke out this week is a manifesto. I wrote most of it as I was falling asleep the other night; hence, it's a little "spontaneous." But you have to start somewhere, right?
- No one out there cares. You care. Do it. Make it remarkable. Share.
- Memories are biased, warped, false. So what. Find the chunks that tell the story you want to hear. Make
yourself laugh, cry, groan with the lessons learned.
- Don't take yourself so seriously that you can't have a laugh at your own expense.
- Introduce your fantasy memory self to the factual world. Make chronologies and timetables. Create a correct family tree. Don't be sloppy. Don't kid yourself. Don't lie.
- Find your mentors and informants but let yourself be surprised who they turn out to be. Your genius-helper may reside close to home.
- Writing happens in your fingers. Write, even if you are just copying out someone else's work to get their rhythms into your fingers. 1000 hours in a year is a good start. Craft counts.
- Bombard your project from different angles. Find new ways to get unstuck. Change your first-person story to third-person. Throw out your ending. Throw out your beginning.
- Don't be boring.
- Learn how to make a book. Fonts, layouts, chapters... Look at books. This is your baby. Do it all. Don't outsource your creation.
- You are raising a creature from the mud puddles and boggy swamps of your mind, and your heart, and your guts. You have to clean it up to make it a gift.
- Start with a premise, but discover your theme along the way.
- Learn by dancing with your ignorance.
Mar 29, 2012