Dear Author

A letter from your characters

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Dear author,

I am a living breathing human being. I’m not your show horse! I need thoughts and some external stimulation. I need you to give me something to solve or avoid solving by solving something else until I realize the true importance of what I was supposed to be solving. Those ah ha moments, I like those. When all the different things finally come together to make a bigger picture, it feels good. I’m not here to stroke your ego. I’m not here to gain you awards. I’m here to be like you in ways you don’t quite understand until you write in order to understand me better. Don’t change me simply because I point out your flaws. I heard Toni Morrison say the slave was important to the white man because it defined his freeness. So I ask that you don’t take away my freeness in order to know you are free. You are free to write me in worlds with clothes and people and situations and thoughts as you choose. You are in control of my story. You are in control of my ending. So let me be entirely myself. Let me be who I become in the unfolding of this particular story. Don’t just develop my thoughts, give me some way to share them. Don’t give me everything I could ever imagine with no internal dialogue. I want to think and to grow and to develop new perspectives. Don’t tell me why I’m here, give me reasons to be here.

Sincerely,

Your Character

Sources

Toni Morrison From Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the literary Imagination in the Critical Tradition pg 1791

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Stepping Out of Your Story and Embracing the Powerlessness of Someone Else’s

For the Conscious Writer

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The great thing about writing you’re own stories is that we have a good idea about what is going to happen. What can be interesting is when we have to leave our stories and gain that sense of powerlessness when we enter into someone else’s story

There’s two aspects to this, one is when we actually engage in someone else’s art. We give our sense of control over to the creator. It’s a mutual agreement between creator and viewer. This aspect provides more of an escape. It’s letting someone else take the wheel of perspective for a moment. It’s liberating and entertaining.

Then the other aspect is in reality when we have to accept that others might make choices we don’t agree with. This isn’t always a mutual agreement. Sometimes the repercussion for some else’s actions are thrust upon you, and there’s nothing you can do about them. The thing you can control is your own thoughts and actions.

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We can’t ever be completely powerless while we are alive and conscious. We can think. We can strategize. We can chose to stay completely unaffected or lash out. We could even think up entirely new situations in our heads and prefer to engage with those ones over reality. We have options. Some choices are better than others but we have them.

The great thing about learning to accept powerlessness as a conscious writer is you get to see things from a different perspective than your own. You can use these moments as tools to understand why someone would do something you can’t imagine yourself doing. Good and bad situations. It’s great practice for character building

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Which leads to, the next thought. Learning to take note of how you feel in moments of powerlessness. Try to stay aware of how you’re feeling when someone’s consequences are thrust on you. This can be a profound experience when you listen and question the thoughts racing through your mind. This is where the great characters live.

Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness.

David Whyte

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A Letter to My Characters

For the Conscious Writer

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Dear Characters,

I’m am here. I will always be here forever and always. I will learn and know each and every part of you and help you bloom into the person that you were always meant to be. No matter what choice you make, no matter how many times you fail, I will be near you. Some choices or things you do, may disappoint me or make me cry. They may make me proud and brighten up my day. Either way, I’ll still need your existence. I’ll still seek you out.

I know your past. I know your thoughts. I know your true purpose. Who you’re going to be isn’t set in stone, until you show me with your actions. The calculated ones, the impulsive ones, the mindless ones. They define you, they take you to who you’re going to be. Show me who you are. Show me with your actions what is in your heart and that’ll make sure you become who you’re destined to be. That will make sure you meet yourself exactly where you’re meant to be.

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It doesn’t matter how strong you are, or how smart, or what gifts and talents you were given. All that matters, is when I throw you into a situation, that you be authentically you. I do hope you learn that these situations are molding you into the person you were destined to be, but hear me out, you can act like the person who you want to become. The trick is to be that person in detail. Now, when I say the person you want to become, I mean you aren’t stuck in your flawed or limited behaviors. I mean, if you want to be a writer, then you must be writing. Be writing when the dragons and fairies and handsome princes come barging into your door. I say this because regardless of your true purpose and of your past, and of your thoughts, if you were writing in the darkest and brightest moments of your existence, what are you then, other than a writer in the midst of living.

And if there is ever a moment you feel you are without purpose, I can promise you, you were not brought into existence without purpose. Not for one moment.

With so much love and gratitude,

your creator

P.S. I can’t explain all the bad things that happen in my own world, but I can give you life that’s worth living. Realize that your life is a gift to me.

On Writing

On Writing- Old Wounds and Your Characters’ Decision Making

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When writing a character, it’s the wounds that guide their decision making. Unless something divine intervenes, when the character is left to make their own decisions, that decision must be made with their old wounds in mind. Whether it makes them use courage and face something head on, or if it makes them a coward (in the most honest term) and avoid any confrontation. Or maybe it just makes them take a second longer to make an unbiased decision. Anyway, the past must be taken into account with decision making. It tells the reader if the character is learning, if the character is ending up to be quite the bore which hopefully places the spotlight on other more interesting characters, or more excitedly is it pushing the character in a negative way causing negative reactions or villainous behavior. dum dum dummmm….

In life, we’ve got to understand our wounds like our character’s wounds. We will make decisions based on our past traumas. It’s up for us to decide if we will allow those wounds to make us stronger or turn us into our own villains. Or if our avoidance behavior is going to remove us from our own story.

Don’t remove yourself from your own story. We need you in all your glory to show up.

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Show Up and Bare it All

On Writing

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When you look at a writer’s work, you can’t look at one piece and know the whole artist. One piece of work is just a bleep on the radar. Especially in today’s world. You can’t just look at one post, or one blog, or one short story, poem, whatever. You have to follow the artist. Follow them with the intent to understand where their work is coming from and for the most dedicated followers, where it is going. How is it evolving? How is the artist evolving?

We don’t know Leonardo da Vinci from just the Mona Lisa. We know him for his writing, his contraptions, his relationships with other artist and intellectuals of his time. We appreciate da Vinci for who he was entirely. Would he be so well admired if we didn’t know about him outside of his paintings?

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The point here is, show yourself. Show who your are outside of your art. You are not one painting, you’re an entire collection. You are more than one work of art. You’re a gallery. You are Picasso’s works before, during, and after his Blue period. That’s about 50,000 works.

Which also means, keep writing. You can’t stop at just one piece. You have thousands more to create and many more late nights ahead to fight against sleep. Every time you finish writing, a little piece of you changes. I’m not sure whether something is added or subtracted. I’m not even sure if it makes you more whole, but it adds to your collection and it makes you a little more whole to the viewer.

Bare it all

Showing up is great but you gotta do more than that. When you write, take the risk. Don’t be afraid to bare it all. You cannot take a snapshot worth keeping without baring some part of you that you hold sacred. Don’t worry about how people will react. Bare it in the most artistic way possible, then move on to your next work.

There’s going to be days when writing is an inconvenience, write anyway. There’s a million reasons to take the night off. It may seem like just one night away from writing, but it’s not. Writing everyday is proof you’re here and awake and fighting for something.

Writing can become your best friend, if you let it. There’s an intimacy in writing everyday that you can’t get from most relationships. It becomes your secret place and a place you can go where you’re allowed to be authentic. Writing can’t love you back but it sure can feel like it. Stay committed and you’ll be rewarded in a million priceless ways.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

— Louis L’Amour

Writing everyday keeps you in the flow. I feel, when I miss days of writing, it takes more time to get back into the story or into a place where I’m willing to share. It’s like anything else, once you step away, it can turn into days before you’re back in the flow again. When you’re in the flow, it doesn’t feel like it until you’re out of it again. Stay consistent. Write every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

― Maya Angelou

If you stop writing, you leave things unsaid. You lock stories up inside you that could be shared with the world. Write it out. Write it down. It may not seem like an interesting story now, but I can promise you, there’s someone out there that will love it. You just have to find them. But write it first, worry about finding them later.

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Allow Your Characters the Space to Become Monsters

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Let your characters choose between right and wrong. See how they react in a situation. Sometimes they surprise you and they respect themselves far more than you think. Same in life, you have to let people choose to make the wrong decision. If you take away the chance for someone to choose between right and wrong one, they will never know if they were capable of making the right decision, and neither will you. Your mind will always wonder how bad they would have fucked up if you didn’t step in. You gotta let them be themselves. It gives them room to grow and trust themselves. Making mistakes is the most important part of growth.

So let’s just say we step back as writers after we place our character(s) into some fishy ass situation. Now we think from their past experience, do they know how to step away from something that will destroy their life? Have they learned yet to say no to self destructive behaviors? Are they constantly sneaking around and making bad choices? Why would this time be different? If you step in without thinking and don’t allow your characters to be honest with themselves, the future is going to become murky. The rest of the book will be built on this need for control that you have as a writer and you are going to have to delete the rest of the book and return to this point where you stepped in for your character. Which in turn doesn’t allow your character to be themselves but forces them to be what you want them to be.

Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”— 

We want to be surrounded by people and characters who choose who they want to be because that allows them to be honest with us. When we surround ourselves with honesty it’s much easier to be honest with ourselves and grow into the person we were truly meant to be.

This means that your characters are going to do things that make you really upset. This means that you are going to have to forgive your characters. This means you’re going to have to have a healthy attachment to your characters. If they don’t piss you off, are you connected to your writing? If they piss you off to the point that you can no longer write their story in an honest way, is there something you’re hanging on to that’s hindering your inability to finish? These are questions we need to ask ourselves as writers within and outside of our stories.

Let people show you who they are. Let them write their own story. Let them destroy themselves. Let them become the hero of their own story. They might surprise you. They might disappoint you and do exactly what you thought. But either way they are going to grow from the experience. You are going to grow from watching them. They’ll show you who you don’t want to be or they’ll show you they are someone who you can truly admire.

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Dear Writer, Your Ability to Focus on Today is Amazing.

For Writers Editing Their First Draft

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You stayed focused on today and that is amazing.

When you focus too much on tomorrow it takes away from today. If you took your time and slowly carved away at your words, that is true craftsmanship. You can’t rush art. You know what you have in mind. Put it together. Try it out. If that doesn’t work, it’s ok try another way.

The first draft of anything is shit.”— Ernest Hemingway

Writing doesn’t come out perfect on the first draft, if it did everyone would be a writer. (Well, I think everyone is a writer but that’s for another day.) A huge part of being a writer is editing your work. That is the art of writing. So if you know what you want to change and edit, you are already on the right path.

I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them — without a thought about publication -and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside. — Anne Tyler

I love how you poured everything into these new ideas. It shows courage. It shows you’re in this for the long term. You’re no quitter when you let everything hang loose in your first draft. Now it’s time to let it all unfold in flames and into your story.

I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent — and when you don’t, panic sets in. The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. — Malcolm Gladwell

Don’t give up now. If you’re feeling like quitting, accept the thought but don’t dance with it. Think of negative small talk as background noise rather than allowing it to become a suggestion. You created something that came straight from inside your head and placed it on paper. You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Just keep going. Keep taking it one day at a time. You can do this.

“Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist. It’s perfect in its existence. The only way it could be imperfect would be to NOT exist.” ― Jane Smiley

Well, that contradicts the first quote but I agree. The first draft it is not meant to live up to impossible expectations. It’s meant to come alive and that is just the beginning of it all.

Quote Cred

https://www.writingroutines.com/famous-writers-on-first-drafts/

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