Monday, January 21, 2008
Meow to the Roar
The wonderful, uber-talented Jenn Hollowell tagged me with A Roar for Powerful Words Award and meme; like any award, there's some work to be done before I can rest on my furry laurels, namely, list three things that are necessary to create good, powerful writing. I've given this a lot of thought over the past week (which is why I didn't post sooner, honestly!) and here are my contributions:
Listen to your little voice. Ever heard that little voice in your head that says, "Hey, this would make a great story!" and just ignore it because you're not confident enough, experienced enough, or just don't have enough right stuff? Ignore your 'enough' switch, and listen to the little voice. If something appeals to you, tackle it with gusto. Learn what you need to know to make the piece work smoothly. Passion for a project often translates into passion on the page, and your inner voice knows that. It also knows that your inner editor needs a good butt-kicking most of the time, that you shouldn't eat chocolate-drizzled pretzels before bedtime, and that the chances of crazed hawks attacking the mailman and flying off with your check are nearly nonexistent. Pretty smart cookie, that little voice.
Make sure your words get their beauty sleep. Write when you're passionate, definitely, but remember to catch a glimpse of those sentences in the cool daylight, after the beer goggles have dropped away. If that essay or article is still good-lookin' in the morning, then you're in good shape. More likely, you'll see some tweaking that needs to be done, some changes that need to be made. Always try to give yourself at least a day to step away from the project, so you can read it with fresh eyes, because powerful writing comes from both passion and reflection.
Roll with the punches. What makes writing powerful is a person's ability to relate to it. Not all works catch everyone by the heart; what moves you may not move someone else. Your stuff will get rejected, scoffed at, snarked upon and generally pierced by the stiletto heels of the world. Eh, it happens. Remember to not take that personally, if possible. But, occasionally, someone will leave you a comment, or come up to you after a seminar, or e-mail you after an article has come out to tell you how much your words touched them. That's the payoff for good and powerful writing.
And now that I've fulfilled my duties as Lion Queen, I give this mantle of writership to Rebecca at WritersRoundabout, April Aragam, Joanna at Life in the Middle, Dawn at Anything that Pays, and Quirky Jessi. For those newly anointed, here are the rules: Link back to the person who tagged you. List three things that you believe make writing good and powerful. Tag five more sages of blog wisdom, and let them know in their comments that they are the new chosen ones.