Aside from “Will Write for Food” by Diane Jacob, one of the books I’ve been burying my pudgy nose into is “Writing Well” by William Zinsser. It’s been a month of breezing through chapter after chapter very basic yet wise writing advice from someone more experience. I’m not done yet, but I’ve been chewing on his writing wisdom every so slowly to savor and truly digest these into my wannabe writer’s system.
One of the recurring gems of writing tips that I’ve picked up after 13 chapters, which is perhaps the hardest to digest (I’d compare it to an overcooked piece of squid) is that writing is a selfish act. If you want to write well, you have to write for yourself and no one else…then readers will follow.
Whaaaaaat? Is he really serious? Yes, he is. That’s why he repeatedly states this across the chapters I’ve read. I’m sure this particular piece of advice will crop up often in the later chapters.
I must admit that this is something that is particularly hard to shake off. Though I hate to admit it, I want to be read. I want people to notice my writing. That’s why everyday, my brain goes into a frenzy, thinking of what I want to write and IF people would be interested to even read it. Thus, the creative growth stunting question: “What would people think about my writing?”
I partly blame the education system for training me to please “authorities” a.k.a teachers to pass all my subjects with flying colors. I also partly blame society’s unspoken imposition on conformity, craving for the approval of the relevant publics such as family, friends and other people we look up to. Could I even partly blame the Church for putting selfless living on a pedestal and hammering how we need to forget the self while living on this Earth?
Maybe it is time for me to embrace the fact that writing should be selfish. Contrary to the teaching that being selfish is a take-me-to-hell-suffer-eternal-damnation bad, in the art of writing well, selfish is good.
Delirious about delicious,