Ye’r a Writer, Larry
Fair Warning: There’s a lot of Disney in this module.
- Don’t be afraid of who you are.
“If you weren’t you, then we’d all be a bit less we.” — Piglet, Disney’s Winnie and the Pooh
Not being afraid of who you are as a writer means developing an inner strength that goes beyond mere confidence. You must understand and acknowledge that you have your own exceptional abilities, and respect and hold yourself responsible for the stories that only you can tell.
Hold yourself, and your writing, in high regard. It will take some time, a lot of pluck and hard work, and a great deal of introspection. Here are some ideas to give you a nudge down that long, but deeply fulfilling road.
- Learn to look at your work critically.
“The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work.” — Tiana, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog
Half of us know that feeling of tossing the stories and poems we write to one side, convinced that no one in their right minds would want to read our work. The other half of us knows what it’s like to be so sure of our own genius that we send off everything little piece that leaks out of our pens, with little revision.
Though these two types of behaviors seem antithetical, they have the same source: fear.
When you’re self-confident and unafraid of who you are, you open yourself up to both the genius of your work, AND its failings. Do not be ashamed by the weaknesses or flaws in your writing, and do not become conceited because of its strengths. Instead, allow yourself to objectively assess your work. There is nothing wrong with feeling pride in your accomplishments, but make sure that you always recognize and rectify problems.
- Reacting to criticism
“The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.” — Timothy Mouse, Disney’s Dumbo
Some writers go their entire careers without ever learning to respond maturely to criticism.
Let’s be honest: Even kindly written, constructive criticism does not give us that warm glow in our cheeks that we get from a compliment or some acclaim. But when you are unafraid of yourself, the sting of criticism is allayed.
Writers who trust themselves and have faith in their abilities may feel hurt when someone comments negatively on their work, but they move past getting angry or defensive, and instead ask themselves bluntly if the criticism they have received is valid and useful. If it is, they listen to it and grow from it. If it isn’t, they shrug it off.
- Handling rejection
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” — The Emperor, Disney’s Mulan
Moving forward in the face of rejection is not easy.
You might have the utmost confidence in yourself, but sometimes even that won’t fend off
the initial frustration or hurt of receiving a “No.”
When you grow, and become aware of yourself as a writer, you learn to see rejection for what it is: Not a judgment about you, but a necessary part of the writing life. When you honor your talent and your ideas, it becomes easy to cast aside the pain of rejection, and keep going, because you understand that you owe it to yourself and to your abilities as a writer to make use of every opportunity to better yourself.
The more you honor your abilities, the more you come to understand that you’re not writing for acceptance: You’re writing because you love to write.
- Comparing yourself to others
“If watching is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without ya.” — Laverne, Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
It is natural to compare ourselves to our peers, or feeling jealousy in the face of their many accomplishments.
What you need to acknowledge is that there are always going to be people doing better than you, in whatever it is you choose to do. You might be a fantastic writer, one of the greats. But there are a lot of fantastic writers, and you might come to realize that some of them are better than you. IT may be a matter of public or personal perception, but it will happen.
When you accept this, you will learn that if you constantly compare yourself to other writers, you will never truly be able to focus on yourself. Now, some healthy competition and constructive rivalry is great. It will push you to better yourself as a writer. But do not become consumed by your perceived failings or another’s apparent advantages.
Writers that honor their talents realize that their place in the world is unique. None of us are here to be someone else, just ourselves.
- Patience is indeed a virtue
“Even miracles take a little time.” — Fairy Godmother, Disney’s Cinderella
We know the names of the many masters of our craft. We know of their incredible abilities and we know of their astonishing achievements. But do we know for sure that they were born with that mysterious writing gene the rest of us just don’t seem to possess?
Not-so-famous writers such as ourselves sometimes ask, “Do I really have any talent? Should I take up knitting instead?” It’s normal to look for reassurance that —like “the greats”—we were born to write.
But ask yourself this, is talent alone what makes someone a real writer?
You might believe that you’ve always been a good writer, but does that mean you would be able to write a novel? No, it does not. If you do write a novel, does that mean that someone else will like it or want to publish it? No, it does not.
Talent will only get you so far. Do not let it limit you. If you feel as though you’re not talented as a writer, so what? Don’t let that stop you from following your passion and growing with each new piece you write, or each acceptance or rejection that you get. Find yourself through your writing, and when you are truly happy, ask yourself if it matters whether or not you had the talent.
- The life-cycle of your abilities
“Like so many things, it is not what’s outside, but what is inside that counts.” — Merchant, Disney’s Aladdin
Let’s get one thing straight: Your abilities are NOT static. They can evolve through hard, or even not-so-hard, work.
Don’t limit yourself to what you know about yourself now. You might be able to write, but might not believe that you are “deep enough” to write poetry. What does that even mean? There is no range of depth that your soul needs to have to qualify as a poet. If you want to write poetry, write poetry. Write a hundred poems and show them to a thousand people. Learn from your mistakes, and grow. Practice: Just as one might to learn how to play a piano, ride a bike or speak a new language. Skills can be taught.
Do not force yourself to live up to some standard. If you love to write, allow yourself to enjoy it, and give yourself a chance to become better.
- Constant improvement!
“When there’s a smile in your heart, there’s no better time to start. Think of all the joy you’ll find, when you leave the world behind and bid your cares goodbye. You can fly.” — Peter Pan, Disney’s Peter Pan
Drop the question “Do I have talent?” in favour of “How can I improve my writing?”
The question “Do I have writing talent?” will not determine whether or not a particular piece works for its intended audience, or whether you have the patience to endure criticism, or how determined you are. It also tempts you to measure yourself against other writers: I’ll never write as well as that prize-winning author, or I’m so glad I’m better than the rest of my writing group.
The question “How can I improve my writing?” is more constructive. You can answer it with strategies that fit your personality, strengths, desires, and goals. Implementing these strategies to any degree results in improvement, and the more you work at them, the more you grow. Here, the focus is on measuring your growth and success against yourself, rather than others.
- Never, ever give up
“Giving up is for rookies.” – Hercules, Disney’s Hercules
- Perform a critical or close reading of books across different genres
- Take a writing course (like this one)
- WRITE OFTEN
- Try to finish what you start
- Join a writers’ group
- Work toward getting published in a magazine
- Learn how to edit yourself
- Listen and observe the world around you
- Honor your authentic self.
“Listen with your heart, you will understand.” – Grandmother Willow, Disney’s Pocahontas
Every writer has stories that the world needs to hear. Trust your words and trust your voice. A writer is always drawn to writing. It is in our thoughts, it is in the air we breathe. We’re full of the words that overflow when we write. It is a way of life.
Cyril Connolly wrote, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” So, tell us, are you a writer at heart?
The Wandering Raven provides members of our community with a comprehensive study of some of the most important nuts and bolts of writing, as well as introductions to a broad range of creative writing elements, through our six courses.
The Crash Course is a half-length course that provides an overview of the basics of creative writing. We suggest taking our Crash Course if you aren’t ready to commit to a full course, and what to see how each of our courses work. Besides having fewer modules than our full-length courses, the Crash Course is identical in quality of content and assignments.
- 18 modules
- Quizzes, Assignments and Readings Included.
- Learn the basics of Creative Writing from your own home.
- Information packed videos, starting from basics to advanced concepts.
- Best suitable for beginners to advanced level users who learn faster when demonstrated.
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- Lectures 18
- Quizzes 0
- Duration You decide!
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 50
- Assessments Self