Thursday, September 26

Who would ever want to read my work?

I went to consult my creative writing tutor about my new story idea and expressed my concern that nobody will want to read it.  She gave me a gem of great advice.

If you're writing something that you would like to read yourself, then that is all that matters.   
There may not be millions, but you will always represent at least a small percentage of other readers out there who like that sort of thing.  So don't stress!

Another thing she mentioned refers back to the idea of there being 3 People in Every Writer: Writer, Reader and Editor. 

THE 3 PEOPLE IN EVERY WRITER.  (Click on the link to read more about their roles and how to use them for maximum productivity.)  

She said that when I'm writing, I'm allowing the Reader in me to be too hypercritical and it's stifling my creativity. 

So to remedy this, I'm going to write wildly and freely, without Reader or Editor looming over my shoulder.  Once I'm done the draft, the Reader can come back and inspect my work to make suggestions for the Editor.  I'm still learning the art of separating these 3 characters, but I'm seeing more than ever how important it is to keep the peace between them so that each can do their job the best they can.  

I'm finding that it's important to trust that there are people out there who like every different sort of obscure thing that exists, and that somewhere there's another person very much like myself who will love what I've written.  Even if I'm the only person who likes it, that might be enough for now... 

Thursday, September 19

To Me. From Me

This week I discovered the amazing, two-storey Dymocks Bookstore in the city.  I spent an hour thoroughly losing myself amongst the shelves, poring over the titles and gulping deep breaths of that book smell that I so miss when I buy books online.  

Obviously, it was useless to resist the store's charms and I ended up buying three books.  

The first one I started reading straight away on the train home.  But the other two, I wrapped in gift paper with a note attached and addressed to myself in the future.  

These two books, gift-wrapped on my bookshelf, are going to be a present to myself when I finish my first year of university.  I'm only six weeks away from accomplishing this incredible milestone.  

Because I've been through so much this year, I thought that the best and truest way for me to celebrate would be to give myself something.  That something is permission to be very proud and happy.  

As great as it is to receive congratulations from my family, it isn't a substitute for telling myself that I'm proud.  I'm the person who I most need to hear that from.  

After all the exhaustive effort that I wrung out of myself to survive this year of study, I just need to admit to myself that 'I did good'.  That I am indefatigable and invincible.  That I can be beaten to the ground and still get back up.  

To me.  From me.  For everything I've been through.  For everything I am yet to dream of doing.  I just need to give myself permission to have this moment of happiness because I deserve it.  No one can take what I've learnt away from me.

Thursday, September 12

The 3 People in Every Writer

In every writer, there are 3 people, 3 distinct characters.  These are:

  1. The Writer
  2. The Reader
  3. The Editor

These 3 people have totally different personalities, and some of them don't get along!  It's a good idea to get to know them and their unique differences so that you can work with them productively.  

I would also strongly encourage you to think of a face that you could give to these 3 people, to help you to separate them and understand their different needs and roles.  


The writer is a free-spirited, creative, imaginative, wondrous person.  This person writes down everything they think and feel.  They need the freedom to say whatever they want.  

I like to think of my writer as Julia Child.  She is free, funny, and fearless, with a booming laugh!  She isn't afraid to make a mess or laugh at her mistakes.  


The reader devours books.  This person learns from studying the work of other writers.  They feed their creative soul with words and have a clear idea of what sort of thing they like to read about.  A helpful motto for the reader is "write the book that you want to read".  

This is the face that the editor makes
when he sees bad grammar

The editor is the polar opposite of the writer.  While the writer needs to space to go crazy with their feelings, the editor is a strict and grim-faced person who knows the rules and enforces them.  

It's a bad idea to have these two in the same room together, because they don't get on at all!  The editor can be hyper-critical and plain heartless!  They come armed with red pens.  It is their job to cut, reword and generally prune the imaginative mess that the writer made into an excellent story.  

It's fun to see the editor as a wise, stern, old soul.  Take Gandalf for example.  He's still loveable, but he gets the job done and isn't afraid to do the hard thing (delete bits the writer likes!)  


These 3 people are 3 roles that every writer has to play at some point.  By creating a strong separation between and unique face for each of them, it makes it much easier to realise what they need.  
  • The writer needs to be free to write anything they think and feel.
  • The reader needs to read and consider what they like to read.
  • The editor needs to look at the writing with a critical eye and heartlessly edit it.  
The writer and editor are the most important to separate because neither can do their job properly while the other is involved.  
  • The writer needs space to make mistakes and get messy, so if your editor turns up while they're working, the writer's creativity is stifled and they feel self-conscious.
  • The editor needs to separate from the writer's enthusiasm and emotional connection with the work in order to perform the difficult task of cutting and editing.  You can't edit properly when the writer is complaining about you tampering with their work!
It really does help to give these 3 people a face and character that you understand well.  

This is particularly helpful when you're writing for a deadline.  When you're rushing, the roles of the writer and editor often get horribly mixed up, and the result is usually not very good writing!

I hope that this is helpful.  Already, I'm noticing how much more proficient I am now that I am keeping this concept in mind.  Take care.