I think of these people as mystics. Very often, they understand the act of writing so poorly that all that they can do is stare at a finished story or poem and bask in awe at what they have accomplished.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling some awe at your own work. Writing a fine story can be a pretty overwhelming accomplishment, but if you become an award-winning author, if your work becomes too well beloved by the public, your own awe often turns into unbridled conceit.
So I don’t want to be a mystic. I much prefer writers who roll up their sleeves and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty—writers who aren’t afraid to admit that they often try for techniques and fail.
I see writing as something of a science, one that we don’t yet fully understand. When we tell stories, we are mining our memories and our subconscious for information so that we can create new characters and worlds and create stories that transmit powerful emotions and profound ideas to our readers in a way that ultimately can transform them, make them see the world anew.
I know that it is a science because there are some techniques that always work. For example, if I start a scene with a powerful hook, it will always draw in a reader faster than if I didn’t use a hook at all, and if I put a character in excruciating pain, the reader will empathize more deeply. So there is a lot that I understand about writing—enough so that when I see work by new writers, I can’t help but look at it with a critical eye, and sometimes even when gauging the work of other bestselling professionals I become dismayed by their hair-brained mistakes.
But writing, like physics or biology, has its fuzzy boundaries. We may understand much about how the world works, but at some point all of the theories about particles and waves break down. In the same way, there are times when creating a story still feels more like magic than science, where all that we have learned seems inadequate, and when we as writers find that the writing flows from us effortlessly and we are so “in the writing zone” that it seems that nothing we write fails to reach our highest aspirations. At those times, we as writers really do feel that we have created something greater than ourselves. I think that just about every writer keeps at the work, hoping for that moment.
My hope for you is that you touch the magic often.
Writing Course Bundle
This week I am going to put all of my writing courses on sale in a huge bundle and at a super low price. I’ll be selling 16 online courses and books that normally retail for more than $1,600 for only $89, and the sale will only last for a few days.
The bundle will include my most popular courses—“The Story Puzzle,” “Writing Mastery 1 and 2,” and “Editing to Greatness,” along with my seminars and books on writing, including #1 Amazon Bestseller Million Dollar Outlines.
I’m creating the bundle so that I give you information on everything from what makes a bestseller to how to brainstorm a novel, to how to write your opening scenes and avoid common errors, and even how to revise a book. There are hours of video with the courses, along with assignments that will help you internalize the lessons. This is the same information that I taught to writing students like #1 bestsellers Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and James Dashner (The Maze Runner), so I hope that it can help you in the same way.
Unfortunately, for this sale, I won’t be able to look at your individual assignments myself. It would take thousands of hours to do that. So I encourage you to do the assignments with your writing friends. (Heck, tell them about this offer.) Think of it as a college course on writing, but just remember that my goal in creating this material was to teach you all the things about writing that you probably didn’t get in college.
To check out the bundle, go to http://mystorydoctor.com/online-workshops/ and scroll down. You’ll find the bundle there.