Four thoughts about writing

by DRM

I

The world is so big, there is so much to comprehend, that we are best starting with something small, something precise — a simple story, an image, an idea –and then writing everything we can think about it, and let that writing take us to places we hadn’t anticipated going.

II

When you write, don’t write to make a point or to convince someone else. Write to remind yourself, to educate yourself, to surprise yourself. The one thing you can rely on is that you are your first reader, so the worst thing to do would be to bore yourself.

III

You can’t be another writer. You can’t even pretend to be another writer. You can only write what you can write, and you’ll only keep writing if it is interesting.

IV

There’s a lot of discussion about the ways that technology and social media are transforming art, writing and publishing. Don’t be distracted by most of what is nonsense. The people who are making the most noise are trying to protect the ways that they make money or figure out new ways to make money. You’re not concerned with those questions. What social media does is let you share what you write. You can make an audience. There is no excuse for having a novel or a batch of poems tucked away in a bottom drawer. You can put the things you write out into the world. You are a writer now, with readers who you don’t know assessing what you have written on the basis of what they see. It will be a surprise. Congratulations.