Today I wanted to share three quotes about writing and about life.
"I read and I walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me." -- Anna Quindlen
That one hits home for me; I used to wander around the Stanford campus late at night when I was a student there, sometimes feeling like I was in a movie but not knowing whether it was a comedy or a tragedy. Come on, those are the years when it's easy to imagine yourself as some kind of doomed hero because you don't yet have a mortgage to think about and you doubt you'll ever make it to old age (40) anyway. I think it did occur to me that the person who had to step out of the darkness could be me, or even that it had to be me, I just didn't know how--but it always seemed to involve writing.
Bradbury never did stop writing, not until he stopped breathing. He gave you the feeling they were pretty much the same thing.
After the 99th rejection or a few particularly frustrating incidents it can be tempting to stop, but one thing I've found helpful is to switch to a different genre or even a totally different type of writing for a while.
I've spent a lot of my career writing scripts but when I got fed up with some of the more aggravating aspects of that, I switched to writing non-fiction books.
At the moment I'm back to writing a script, but also trying out something totally new for me, a young adult novel.
Yes, it's good to focus your efforts because breaking in to any type of writing is a challenge and you don't want to spread yourself too thin. However, sometimes it's healthy. As the saying goes, sometimes a change is as good as a rest.
Being in a different place with completely different people is what made me love reading, and makes me love writing.
With a few exceptions, I've avoided writing (or reading, or seeing films) about serial killers, child molesters, and murderers, mostly because these are not people I want to spend time with.
If you do enjoy vicariously confronting horrible people, perhaps making sure they get their comeuppance more often than is the case with their real-life counterparts, that's great, too.
Either way, I hope you're taking advantage of our unique ability as writers to create worlds and people to live within and to share with thousands or even millions of our fellow escapees.
(For writing advice from the finest writers, including Dickens, Jane Austen, Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as modern masters like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, get a copy of my book, "Your Creative Writing Masterclass," published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)