Taking Credit for Yourself

I said something stupid. Ok, I say stupid things all the time. Ask my wife. However this time, I thought how stupid it was to think like that. I was giving credit to my new story for writing itself. I then thought about how many times I have said or thought, “Wow, this just writes itself.” NO, it does not write itself, it is not sentient. You alone should get the credit for your work, even when you don’t realize your mind is working in the background on something.

I am not advocating for the “I did it all on my own.” people who refuse to acknowledge help and influence in getting them to their goals. Behind every self-made person is many who gave a hand or an idea. There are people who suffered so that the writer had the time to write.

Give yourself credit in your own mind when you write something, no matter how easy it feels at the time. You are the only one who could have written that exact story. That is being a writer. No one can take that from you ever.


Confidence in Writing

Charles Colp
Charles Colp and friend singing poorly.

I Was talking to a friend who writes regularly, but doesn’t post it anywhere. He is safe behind his walls as an unknown writer. His work is good. The imagination he displays, would put most writers I know to shame. There is only one thing I can see in his writing that needs work, confidence. He chooses safe phrasing, doesn’t stray outside the sandbox of words his computer says are correct. I realized how much this translated from his personality, to his writing when he was reviewing something for me.

Him: What is Schmraugh? That isn’t a word is it?

Me: My character sure seemed to think it was.

Him: How does the reader know that though?

Me: If you drop something heavy on your foot and you yell something in Russian, I am pretty sure everyone would get the point.

Him: Yeah, it just wouldn’t leave my spell checker, so I thought I would ask.

His work just needs that punch. Not necessarily made up words, but a more open approach to how people communicate. Slang words may be difficult, but if you listen close to the frame of reference, you will understand the context. It can really add to a characters individuality. It can even be used as an identifier as to who is talking without having to end every line with “He said jokingly.”

It is possible to take this too far and make your character unintelligible, but generally a specific set of made up words won’t hurt the readability.