For the Conscious Writer
Know when to “fuck what they say”
With my first novel being experimental fiction, I’m all for bending the rules. I love movies that don’t follow standards. I love writers that don’t either. But there’s an art to it. Some things are worth a good listen, especially if they are in line with your values, other things are pure bias, culture, or ignorance. It’s important to experiment, to try new things, listen sometimes, tell them to fuck off other times. There’s no real balance, we’re all learning here.
It’s ok to start with the basics
Some people dive right in without learning the basics, but at some point, they end up having to retrace their steps. Be ok with learning the basics, whether on your own or from a teacher. Either way works. Any pace works. Don’t forget to enjoy the learning process. Once you know, the thrill of learning isn’t there anymore. Enjoy yourself.
Allow yourself to learn
We all learn differently, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting your hands dirty. Writing consciously works best when you’re actually writing. Learning means that you’re going to mess up. Mess up in private and then mess up in public. This is how you learn. This is how you learn the way you learn best. Some people learn best from reading tons of books on grammar, some by watching how to videos, some by reading actual literature, and some by letting others do the editing. No shame in needing more than one way. No shame at all because if you’ve made it to the point where you realize you need to learn, you’ve made much further then some people ever will. Appreciate your efforts.
Balance the pleasure and thoughts
This. This is how you write works that bend the rules but keep the reader interested. I’m still learning this myself. You see, a certain level of pleasure is required for art but when we sprinkle a little intellect in there, a little thought, and strategy, it comes together like a living breathing human being. That’s a secret I’m sharing. Use it to your heart’s content.
Defend your thoughts and ideas. It’s not a war, so gently is always best. But stand up for your art. Sometimes that’s what needs to be done. Sometimes you’ve got to fuck what say. At the end of the day this is your work. This is what you’re leaving behind and it will be here after you’ve gone, as long as a meteor doesn’t wipe us out. Which leads to the short period of time we have left on this planet.
Another thing that comes with defending your art, is defending the time and energy that you have to spend on it. If you must nix phone calls, do it. If you must write through the night while the rest of the world sleeps, do it. This is absolutely a time when there’s no need for negotiation. List your priorities. Respect them and expect no less of anyone else. If they get mad at you for it, fuck what they say. Finish your art first. Have people in your corner who know how to respect that. Regardless, you’re going to have to choose reality over writing regularly, choose wisely and respectfully.
If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy or both–you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
The thing about learning when to fuck what they say means, you might get it wrong. You may miss out on things you will regret later. You may accept advice you wish you never accepted. We live and we learn, that’s what makes us conscious writers. The only way to try to make sure you’re making a confident decision is knowing your priorities which requires you to self reflect. Once you get to know yourself and your values, goals, and priorities are as in line as they can be in this life, you’re fuck what they say radar becomes golden.
Keep digging, keep being aware, and keep moving forward.
You got this.