Sunday, September 24, 2006

Writing With A Blindfold On - What You Want To Write About

Dear Dead Beat,

How does a writer know when he is writing about what he wants to write about and not what he thinks he wants to write about?

Dear Write About,

Dead Beat believes that a writer should go into their work blindfolded. Go into the dark and discover a source of light. Too many writers shine the light on one spot and write about that. It is usually a spot of comfort( see Swashbuckling). A spot they know only too well, and almost certainly a spot they do not need to write about. Writing is an act of exploration where we find out things we did not already know, where we reveal things previously hidden away. If we go in knowing what it is we want to write about, we are liable to end up with opinionated works. Writers’ opinions are dubious at best.

Dead Beat places a lot of trust in the unconscious processes. What you think you want to write about is usually a conscious thought and less interesting. Begin with that if you must, but as you write your initial draft take chances, go down roads you would normally avoid, meet people you would prefer not to talk to. Make the journey and then see what you have got. Find out what interests you now about your piece of writing and begin again from that perspective.

Dead Beat remembers John Keeble talking about Charles Johnson visiting EWU. Keeble mentioned that he would like some day to write about the Aryan Nations who had a heavy presence in Washington State. Johnson told him that if he ever did he had to promise to write from the point of view of the Aryan Nations people.

Writers must take risks. They must leave their opinions and viewpoints behind. The writing that results will reveal what it is you really want to write about, or more to the point, it will reveal what it is you ought to be writing about.

Leave any questions for Dear Dead Beat in the Comments section

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This requires more courage than I possess - now what?

Add to Technorati Favorites