To Write or Not to Write - That Is the Question

by AlishaLutz

Writing tidbits and knowledge that I have picked up during my nine years of writinng

Everyone wants to be a successful writing. Writing is a release of the soul and if we could get paid to do what we do naturally anyways - well that's the dream, isn't it? Yet there is so much more that goes with getting published than writing from the heart. I hope that this page will aid in your journey to become a better writer as I take this journey along with you.

When Your Personality and Writing Just Don't Match

I am a romantic. I love the Disney princess films. Classic authors like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are my go to medicine for a rainy day. I’m a dreamer. I get funny looks all the time from people when I space out because I daydream about who knows what. I dream big because that is how my mother raised me. When these plans fail I just move on to the next big dream because I am also an optimist. But at the same time, I am a worrier. I fret too much about what the future holds that often times, I fail to put my trust in God and instead rely on my own strength.

I love to paint scenery because I want to one day travel the world, and until I can, these help tie down my wrestles heart. I used to think that I would never fall in love because my wanderlust might be a hindrance to my significant other. But then I fell in love with a wonderful Texas boy who does whatever he can to appease me and I realized that if you find the right person, you’ll find a way to work these things out together, and thanks to us being in a long distance relationship, my wanderlust gets appeased every time I fly down to see him.

Why share this? Because I want to give you a glimpse of who I am before I give you a glimpse into the kind of writing I engage in. Most people, when I tell them that I write and have been published, make automatic assumptions about what kind of stuff I like to write, and they are always wrong. People ask me if I want to be the next Nicholas Sparks, or how I handle romance in my writing. It always comes as a shock to people when I tell them that I do not write romance books or musicals or children’s books. While I find nothing wrong with those genres - and maybe I will even try my hand at them one day - they are not the genres that interest me. I like to write suspense books, plays with tragic endings, fiction pieces that investigate the mind of the mentally insane. As long as there is at least one death included in my writing at the end of the day, I can sleep satisfied.

What I am trying to say is that you should never let what other people think you should write govern what you actually do write. Most times, our writing is like a mirror into the deepest, darkest parts of our hearts. We, like any other artist, create in order to find a way to express ourselves to the world in ways that would not normally be possible. When I first started getting serious about writing, I started going to a writing club in my high school. To this day I have yet to find a more supportive group of individuals. I was nervous about what they would think about the kind of stuff I was writing, but never once did they look down on it. Everyone else, including my family, however, could not understand it. Some even laughed at the idea that I could have written something like this. If it was not for my writing group, I may have stopped writing all together. If I had listened to everyone else instead of trusting my instincts, I may not have gotten even close to where I am today. Or maybe I would have. Who knows? But by sticking to what I love, I was able to see my own play be performed in Baltimore in June and see firsthand how people reacted to a tragic piece that had written. Had I given up on myself earlier on, I would never have had the chance to see a grown man cry over the death of one of my characters.

So no matter what you write – romance, mystery, sci-fi, nonfiction, or whatever –write because you enjoy it, not because it is what people think you should write. Hone your craft and one day people will see your passion for what it really is. And while you’re at it, find some people to cheer you on, who appreciate your writing and never put you down for it. They are the ones you will put in your forward one day.

On Getting Back To Writing

Writing is hard work. It's not something that comes natural to most people. Whoever tells you differently has lied to you. The natural want to write is natural, of course. The need to express what lies deep within you, whether that be by writing, or drawing, or singing, or by shooting targets in a range is up to you. Everyone should have some way to express their wants and desires, their frustrations, their fears. However, we live in a time and age where so much is able to distract us. Whether that be our jobs, our families, school, friends, chores, responsibilities, or whatever - the point is that there will always be something fighting to claim our attention. Sometimes we actually do it to ourselves. I'm extremely guilty of this. The Internet is my Achilles heel. I tell myself that I'll just stay on for ten minutes - just enough to check my Facebook and beat the level on the latest popular phone game - and then I'll get back to writing. The next time I look up, two hours have passed, the sun has gone to bed, and my stomach is reminding me that I skipped dinner once again. But at least I was able to text my boyfriend, engage in some pointless debate with some online strangers and watch ten random YouTube videos in a row.

This is why I have to take myself out of my house in order to write. At home, I'm too easily distracted. I have a large family, and just when I've finally disciplined myself to write, someone needs me for something. Every single time. My newest haven is Starbucks cafe at Barnes and Noble. It's quiet enough to concentrate but not too quiet that I start getting antsy. Plus, I haven't been able to connect to the Internet yet (I think they're hiding it from me on purpose, the stinkers) and that's a great thing. I'm forced to just concentrate on what I can get access to, which is mostly Microsoft Word, my ebook collection, and the occasional game. But with all these people around, it forces me not to play any games lest someone see how terribly I'm losing. It's amazing really how much of our computers' functions rely on the Internet. With the limited access, though, I can force myself to focus.

I also like to write here because I find that surrounding myself by the books of the great authors from our time and from the past, I'm forced to look at my own writing and see just how little I've achieved. It motivates me. A book I've discovered that is really helpful in giving me motivation is Chicken Soup for the Soul - Inspiration for Writers. I don't know about you, but I myself find that series to be sort of old fashioned, something that was popular for my parents' generation. I don't know what this says about me, though, because I actually own one of their other writer's books (the name escapes me at the moment) and I plan to eventually buy this one (I'm currently reading it only at B&N and giving it back when I leave). I find that reading about other struggling writers who are able to get through the distractions of life and find time to write the next American novel is really inspirational and it convinces me to get my butt in gear.

So my advice to you is to find that place where you can write distraction free. A place where you can't see the dishes pile up, the parents can't call you, and for goodness sakes, the Internet can't distract you. You can be your own worst enemy, so make sure that you aren't able to do so. Go to a place where you can be inspired, where you can take a good long look at your own success at writing the next American novel/play/movie or whatever it is you're writing. Just don't forget to bring your phone because I assure you, once you find that little slice of Heaven, the time is going to fly by, and you don't want your family and friends to think you're dead when you lose all track of time.

What writing tips are you most interested in?

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Updated: 04/30/2015, AlishaLutz
 
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frankbeswick on 05/06/2015

I tutor young people on how to write essays, among other things, and I always say to the ones who lack confidence- BEGIN. Don't sit there dithering, get something on paper. Then BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Maritravel on 05/05/2015

I agree that having a place to write in peace is essential, but when I think of a writer like J.R. Rowling who produced the first Harry Potter story writing in a cafe, I think I'm making an excuse. So, we write where we can if writing is important to us. Reading 'how-to' books is great fun as is attending writing seminars and workshops, but if we don't sit down and write, it's all worthless..

frankbeswick on 04/30/2015

I write to express my deepest thoughts and feelings, and this mean that no one can tell me what to write, as who I am determines what I write. Follow the muse and write what you feel that you want to.

jptanabe on 04/30/2015

Thank you for sharing your writing story! I love Starbucks at Barnes & Noble too - but I use it more for reading than writing, too many distractions at my local one (including meeting people I know).

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