Resolutions of a Writer
More than Dreams and Plans
Writer’s Life, Writer’s Pain
One month has passed since New Year night when we all made our special wishes, hoping for more inspiring, fruitful, and simply a wonderful year. I made 7 cherished wishes, and one of them was related to writing. In my head, it sounded like this: I wish to Reveal my writer’s Self immensely and irrevocably; the latter word has a beautiful equivalent “book and the candle”, which is a perfect allusion for my imaginative soul enchained by the ice of inertia and inner fears… So I made this wish but I didn’t write down any resolutions: I’m guilty of laughing at people who are obsessed with those lists of a better self. Ok, this auto-training can even be effective, and if I dislike lists of boring materialistic aspirations, I can write something different, something creative, arcane, fulfilling… I’m about to confess that I haven’t made any promises to myself because of the fear of not achieving those “stratospheric goals”. I’m a person who flows with the wind, constantly changing directions… I madly depend on my mood, which reflects four seasons during a single day. I am an embodiment of Chaos (but isn’t it where harmony comes from?). I love freedom, it’s difficult for me to obey, as well as it’s difficult for me to complete what I’ve started when I get bored. That’s why it’s often a challenge for me to work, to accomplish routine tasks; that’s why I suffer from Reality and my whole life revolves around escapes… I’m running from routine existence even now when writing my thoughts down, my sacred haven is somewhere in the outlandish realms where Imagination reigns, but beautiful phantasmagorias are often born within my head just to stay there… I haven’t written even a dozen of decent short stories; I haven’t published a book despite the fact that so many storylines intersect in my inner world. I am an admirer of writers, predominantly classic authors who are able to change readers’ minds, shining through them like insights and prophecies… Great authors continue to enlighten even after their death. I'm more of an admirer than a wordsmith myself.
I find the answer to my anxieties in the umbriferous nooks of my heart: I’m afraid of writing because I think I will never become one of them, ludicrous, isn't it? I adore books that impress, chill to the bone, leave you in awe, puzzle your mind… I’m afraid I’ll never write even one book so unique and essential. But when the night comes, when I contemplate the scars of the Moon, the screaming expression at her constantly changing face, gloomy clouds veiling the marble body of an ancient goddess, I feel Awake! Suddenly, solitary Selene gives me energy, kisses my eyes with a mystery to let me see the otherworldly beauty around me… Inspiration flows through my veins and my hand starts writing in fever – whimsical poems, radiantly sad songs that shatter the calm of time-worn epochs, thorn-woven legends. I sing to myself, imagining I have come from the Moon, I am her secret child whose mission is to fill this harrowing world with moonlit fairy-tales, with the belief in other charming worlds… I am a writer within because I have been writing for myself on the outskirts of my mind, I haven’t shared the majority of my fantasies even with closest friends. I thought, “Nah, these ideas are too whimsical, too ephemeral, too abstract, too puzzling, too lunatic…”, this way trapping those imaginative brainchildren in the purple coffers of my mind. Why purple? This color has suddenly splashed through my consciousness and dissolved like the theatrical smoke. Allusions again... Perhaps, it’s time to break this vicious cycle of the egocentric self-expression. I don’t know if I am able to impress you yet but if I don’t start writing, I will not discover my hidden possibilities, I will not acquire more precious knowledge, I will stay in the cage of my pipe dreams.
Should I start from simple resolutions I used to hate? Can I turn those tedious self-promises into something unexpectedly helpful? I’ll do it not only for myself, but also for You who relatedly hesitates, doubts, and fears to shake off your pencraft muses’ slumber.
Resolutions for Dormant Wordsmiths
- I. Delve Into Heart-Wrenching Phobias.
- II. Gain Inspiration from the Wise Ones.
- III. Don’t Fight with Swords. Fight with your Words.
- IV. Stop Taking Up Boring “Writing” Jobs
- V. Discover Another Artistic Side
Fear is your arch enemy because it absorbs your personality, freezes your strivings, makes you run away. Take your imagination sword and fight it! Look your phobia in the eye, transcend it, become its master. Your main goal, as a writer, is to describe your fears all to pieces. You may feel uncomfortable at the beginning when spilling the most awkward and unpleasant dreads onto the previously vacant pages. However, gradually you will start turning from a feeble intimidated being into a new-born warrior who is powerful enough to conquer Angst. If you strive to create fiction, you must not simply destroy those phobias, you must transform them into spectacular bloodcurdling storylines. It will help you to face your inner horrors and change your attitude to them. Just remember, good fiction leaves an imprint on readers’ minds, so you should be brave enough to share those fears with your audience to make them sense the truthfulness of your feelings… and yes, now your readers will be afraid, but who doesn’t love an excellent horror story?
Call me old-fashioned, but ghosts exist not only to give you the creeps but also marvelous gems of inspiration. Somehow it happens in my life that the greatest teachers and influencers for me are dead in our reality but they are more than alive in the books they wrote. Magic dwells in the pages of classic literature. I can’t fully explain this phenomenon but modern literature simply doesn’t have the valuable qualities of the classic one. What is more interesting, the major bookish quintessence seems to have evolved not in the ancient times, but during XVIII-XX centuries… These 200 years especially elaborated gothic elements, versatile phantasmagorias, perfectly combined Romanticism with Magic Realism, which frenziedly flowed into Surrealism, amalgamated “free jazz” motives into books, and transformed science fiction into prophecies… If classic literature remains undiscovered for you, nurture your inner whimsical Romantic with E. T. A. Hoffmann, become a desperate philosopher and indulge in grim Russian reality of the 19th century with Dostoevsky, reevaluate the profoundness of fairy-tales with H. C. Andersen, wander through mysterious streets of Prague and discover the most unexpected esoteric corners of a human mind with Gustav Meyrink, learn to construct striking oddities of the poetic flow of consciousness with Dylan Thomas… My resolution regarding “the wise ones” is also about reading all those supposedly mind-blowing classic books I haven’t touched yet. I know I’ll be both fascinated and disappointed, but I need to move forward because I turned into an ardent re-reader of my favorite works: it’s an equivalent to worshipping the same deities while knowing that they’re not the ones in the Universe (in my case, in the Bookish Realm).
A creepy writer’s block scoffs at your efforts every day. A writer’s block is a shapeless monster that attacks your creative identity and tries to erase it (at least for a while) or make you similarly amorphous… It’s like Lovecraft’s Shoggoth, a dreadful beast who imitates but never truly becomes someone. Read this description of a horrid shoggoth, just imagine it coming! “It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” H. P. Lovecraft, “At the Mountains of Madness”
That’s an ugly thing, a parasite, and isn’t a writer’s block parasitic as well? Your only way out is to mock it back. Yes, as if it’s a ghastly alive creature willing to suck your creative energy out. It’s easily killed with the help of imagination. I already mentioned “writer’s block banishing spell” in one of my articles. However, if transforming this crisis into an ugly being in order to destroy it with any imaginative weapon is too creepy for you, you may simply choose to ignore it or write it away. This is a paradox: any writer’s block (mild and severe) can be written away! The problem is that you can’t start expressing your thoughts when you sense this inner impediment, but you usually cannot write what you have to write – this way it becomes more complicated. What is worse, you become too focused on the presence of this self-eating predicament, which makes you stare at the blank page for hours… Destroy the block by describing it! After you manage to portray it or your feelings about it, you can proceed with writing about something random, usual, something you encounter on a daily basis. For instance, your cat is looking out the window: get inside his mind, tell the story of your pet, envision his dreams about birds or even something much more whimsical. Hoffmann made up the whole novel about a philosophical cat who can read and write: “The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr”. Of course, if your pencraft crisis emerged when you had to do the specific work, such fanciful ramblings of the mind will not help you complete the task, but these tactics will contribute to recharging the stream of your thoughts, instigating the creative process. On the contrary, if the writer’s block attacks you when you attempt to invent something fictional, the method of describing every tiny thing you see around you or any emotion you currently feel – works immaculately!
Writing and copywriting are different things. Radically. “So you want to be a writer?...”( I’m almost singing this phrase), then don’t be a copywriter. Quite a simple formula. Copywriting is all about advertising, primitive keywords you will soon hate using; that’s anti-imaginative, that’s rarely creative. Genuine writing has Soul. Ideally, an author shouldn’t be told what to write and how to write: inspiration comes from within, the process of inventing storylines is sacramental, that’s when you connect with your cosmic self, with the muses of creation. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to make ends meet because you have to pay the rent, buy food, Books!, and your eccentric self needs more vibrant clothes… our “essentials” may be endless. So you search for all sorts of freelancing offers where writing skills are required. I know it often seems impossible to become a self-employed writer who lives in his perfect fantastic realm with muses; writer’s path is thorny, but those thorns can eventually turn into roses. Even if you have a job that has nothing to do with writing, you shouldn’t kill the author in you if you feel that the world needs your stories. Not a sophisticated advice: write at least 500 words every day no matter how tired or apathetic you are after your routine responsibilities. How much time do you need to write 500 decent words? It may take as little as 30 minutes. I'm convincing myself and anyone like me: We have this time daily, even more. Unwritten words, similarly to the unfulfilled dreams, are burdens you may sorrowfully carry throughout your life.
Art nurtures art. If you can paint images in your head and write them down, why can’t you become a painter in its actual sense? If you hear music in the words you read or say, why can’t you become a musician? Evolving other artistic abilities will help you become more imaginative and free-spirited. Versatile art forms will fill your life with profound thinking, new approaches to writing, unexpected ingenious decisions. It’s also essential to communicate with fellow authors, artists, and musicians, adhering to amazing old traditions of intellectual clubs where incredible manifestations of human resourcefulness amalgamated and thrived. My inspiration disentangles when I travel to places where literature beau monde of the past organized their eccentric art-satiated salons, where Parisian poets drank absinthe, where Bohemian writers told occult tales… Travel the world poetically, and venture the journey within your mind.
If you’re destined to become a writer, you’ll understand it after your first elegant oeuvre that will make your heart tremble. If you’re destined to become a writer, no routine duties, no usual exhaustion will make you stop composing stories (even if merely inside your head). If you’re destined to become a writer, you won’t stop wondering, dreaming, and searching for the depths even inside the ordinary things. I still have doubts, I still have fears, but I have a Dream so powerful that it seems if I don’t fulfill it, I’ll be doomed to live a stranger’s life, not mine… My truest New Year will come as my personal Renaissance when I adamantly reveal and accept the Author in me.