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A Writing Advice
A letter I sent to someone special who feels as if he’s lost his ability to write. Reproduced here in verbatim.
You know what I think, deluding yourself that you forgot how to write is in the same league as making excuses for not writing because you have no reason to write, or that you are not sad enough. It has the same amount of bullshit, or worse, maybe even more.
Because you know what, writing is not a gift, but a skill. Some people may be more predisposed to it, the same way some people learn a skill so much faster than others, but as any other skill, if you apply yourself to it, with enough industry you can learn it.
And I think you don’t even have to make as much effort as someone who is trying to learn how to write for the first time. Because you’ve been good at it already, for quite a long while, and the exact reason you’re no longer as good and must learn again is because you haven’t been applying yourself to it as consistently and as diligently as you did before.
You’ve read Becoming a Writer by Dorethea Brande. Don’t tell me you learned nothing from it. Weren’t her exercises all geared towards becoming a writer, not about the technicalities of writing but about writing as a skill, the goal of which is to become so disciplined that whatever you might be feeling, whatever triumph or tragedy you may be currently experiencing, whatever your circumstances are, you can still write?
You became good at it because you were prolific. You kept on writing, and the posts you had were long posts, not vignettes of less than 200 words, but 500 to 1000 words of creative writing, and wasn’t that what Brande kept insisting we do, churn out words by a certain word count no matter how awful or good they are the first time?
And don’t even expect that the first few ones you write now will be as good as those you have written at your peak. It doesn’t really work that way. You’re rusty, and you must work towards honing your writing skill to become as good again, or even better, and I can certainly assure you that you will be better at it now more than before because you have more experiences, you’ve felt a better variety of emotions, you’re subconscious and conscious mind have since accumulated more material that you can use than your 17 or 18 year old self had in its arsenal.
You’re going to have to start again, but you won’t have to start in the same place as you did when you first began to write. This isn’t a ladder where you’re back to the bottommost step, this is an upward spiral and you are going to begin a new cycle, with all cycles before this your scaffoldings to reach farther up.
You are young, handsome, and talented. Stop making excuses and write.
What Rushers associate with BTR's names:
- Kendall: a green eyed wonder, his hips don't lie, vine-addicted bastard, huge eyebrows, organic spiderman
- James: sexgod, fox
- Carlos: Instagram, Vine, dumbie, corndogs, latin passion
- Logan: a hot motherfucker, texas toast, "everything's bigger in texas", henderwhore