Writing Discussion

Five Questions About Writing

Wiswell posted some questions fielded to him by a young aspiring writer. I thought I’d take a moment to think about it too.

1. What inspired you to be a writer?

Stories and a vivid imagination. One of the first books I remember, was a story about a duck lost in the forest. I read it over and over again, and wished that all the animals could come out of the book to play with me. I’d make up games full of strange worlds and creatures. The bathtub was a time machine (you had to walk along the ledge, and spin three times inside the shower curtain), and would take us to a world full of dinosaurs, or a sea full of sharks and mer-people. My first novel attempt (I was 11?) was based on one of these games. If I could draw, I would draw out these stories, but unfortunately I can’t. Writing is the only way I have of telling the stories that that take place in my head.

2. What is love according to you?

There are many types of love, none lesser than the other (I think the west idealizes romantic love too much). When it comes to love for another person, it’s wishing the best for them, wishing them happiness, and doing the best you can to help that happen. It’s not always easy, and it doesn’t even mean you need to feel affection for someone (though that helps). When speaking of love of art or an occupation, I’d say it’s an extension of passion: always wanting to learn more, and never getting bored with it for long.

3. What are your writings to you?

Some days they’re magic. Somehow the blood, sweat, and dark dreams jotted onto those pages mingle to form something more than the sum of their parts. Other days, the same story can feel like a horror movie. I don’t know how I could have written something so awful. It really depends on my frame of mind and mood.

4. How will you define yourself as an artist?

The only philosophy I have behind my writing is to ‘be honest’ and ‘write what interests me’. There are some themes I enjoy exploring more than others, and I think I’ll define and redefine myself over time.Β  However, when a story is loosed upon the public, it’s no longer mine. That’s the great thing about writing. When the reader engages with it, the reader brings his/her experiences and way of seeing the world to the text. Every interpretation is different. So perhaps one day (when people actually read my writing) readers will come up with their own ideas.

5. What do you think are the qualities in you which others do not have, and because of which you can write?

I think that anyone can learn to write competently if they really want to. I don’t put as much stock in talent as I do in hard work. To me, talent is simply an ability to learn faster / understand a subject a little more quickly than others. On the other hand, I do believe that there are some stories only I can write, and that’s just because no one else sees the world the same way. Every one of us has a distinct voice, personality, and a unique point of view. If you love stories, if you love books, and you’re willing to learn, you can write.


If you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what words of encouragement or advice would you give about writing?

15 Comments

  1. “When it comes to love for another person, it’s wishing the best for them, wishing them happiness, and doing the best you can to help that happen.”

    Yes. A million times yes.

    Also adore your answer to #4 and would steal it for my own. πŸ™‚

    My mom and I had an interesting conversation about talent vs. hard work the other night. Well, interesting b/c she and I hadn’t had it before, but we were speaking honestly about ourselves. Perhaps I’ll blog about it sometime.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      You should! I had a conversation with my dad about talent years ago, and I still remember it. It wasn’t very encouraging LOL

      And thank you! Feel free to steal it if you ever need it πŸ˜‰

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      I don’t think I could finish writing a novel if I wasn’t emotionally invested in it nor having fun writing it. The book “The Explorers” (yeah we came up with that name when we were kids) is slotted sometime for the future LOL I still have the first two chapters hand written. It will be YA. πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m glad you chose to answer these questions as well. The answers will be so varied from writer to writer and it’s nice to get a little perspective on each other.

    As for writing advice to my younger self…I would tell myself to never stop. I took many years away from writing and part of me regrets that time I lost. But there’s another part of me that thinks I needed to just live through those years as they were so I would know how to capture the emotion later in life. So maybe I wouldn’t offer myself advice at all. πŸ˜‰

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      It’s really interesting to see what drives each of us, and how we view the work πŸ™‚

      I don’t feel bad about stopping – I went through a long stretch without writing too. I really think that doing some living / growing is prerequisite to writing well, and why most writers don’t get their first novel published until they’re in their 30’s or older. (I once did an unofficial wikipedia poll on that hehe)

  3. Hmm. I like this post, and these questions. They’re interesting. I might steal this for myself, for a post next week or so.

    As to the writing advice to younger-me: I’ll take the first part of Danielle’s answer. I too went through a couple fallow periods in which I didn’t write much, if at all. I’d tell myself to keep at it… and to do it more when I was writing. During college, frankly, I had plenty of free time… but I turned out an approximately 4,000-word chapter of my book only once every two months or so. What was I thinking? I envy the free time I had then… and how much I could’ve gotten done if I’d been more attentive to my writing craft.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      I’d like to see your answers as well πŸ˜‰

      I sometimes wish I’d taken more writing / english classes in university. I didn’t need to for my degree. Who knows, maybe you’d have been published by now… or further along in the craft? On the other hand, maybe not. Sometimes I think we need to grow up first (as I mentioned to Danni)

    2. Yes, I do think we need to grow up… but I could’ve been both grown up, and sufficiently polished in my writing craft by now that I could viably get something published by now

      As it is… I’m way behind this typical writing curve of not getting a book published until one’s 30s. At my current rate, it’s highly unlikely I’ll have a book published before I’m 40, if I ever get published at all. I’m not knocking on 40’s door, yet… but I don’t figure my first finished book will get picked up any too quickly, and I anticipate spending a fair number of years writing more books before I have a career I can actually talk about.

    3. T. S. Bazelli Author

      I wouldn’t worry about it. πŸ˜‰ Don’t they say it takes about a million hours, or 10 years to become an expert at something? We all have to start somewhere. I’ve met people (at conferences) who didn’t start writing until they were retired. Luckily there’s no ‘age’ limit for writing.

    4. Man… I’m on a downer today – sorry for that.

      But there is an age limit for writing. It’s called “mortality”.

      I’ve grown increasingly distrustful of mine, lately. Not for any particular reason, just generally been thinking a lot about it.

      So… let me think… how can I go out on a positive note?

      Fear of one’s own mortality makes good psychic fodder for writing books? At least that gives me something to fuel my characters and my plots…

  4. You’re exactly right on #5. Many writers have tons of talent, but it’s meaningless without the hard work. It’s the effort that pulls it all together. And writing is WORK!

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      I’ve seen many super talented people, with far more potential than myself, do nothing with their talent, or give up when its time to do the work, because things have always been easy for them, and it makes me sad πŸ™

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