How To Be A Writer (Super-Advanced Edition)

Shut your eyes and see.
Gary Bridgman,

  1. This here is some advice about how to be a writer; it’s geared towards fiction-writing, but it works for other kinds of writing as well.
  2. This is, however, the Super-Advanced Edition of writing advice.
  3. If you would like some more basic advice, then read this first.
  4. And then maybe this.
  5. Anyway; so — How To Write, Super-Advanced Edition. Beginning right…
  6. …Now.
  7. So.
  8. So now…
  9. …Shut your eyes and see, as James Joyce recommends above.
  10. Shut your eyes and see — imagine the world as you would first see it, coming in, from above.
  11. Entering the world, our world, for the first time, coming in through the clouds: you are an angel, a baby being carried by a stork, Superman, a UFO, whatever.
  12. Seeing it for the first time, as you’re coming in through the clouds, how would you describe it?
  13. How would you describe the world through fresh eyes?
  14. Because that’s it; that’s the job description.
  15. As Saul Bellow once said, “Reality is the job.”
  16. As Ezra Pound once said: “Make it new.”
  17. As William Carlos Williams once said: “Invent! No ideas but in things.”
  18. Are you Advanced enough to handle this? Because it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
  19. Here’s a poem…
  20. …It’s called ‘A Martian Sends a Postcard Home,’ and it is by Craig Raine
  21. martnew
  22. mart2new
  23. mart3new
  24. That is it. That is the entire poem.
  25. Do you see?
  26. Do you see it; to see the world fresh like that?
  27. That’s writing. To explain the world to others.
  28. Here’s a quote from a novel by a writer who knows a lot about writing
  29. …The quote describes a writer who is struggling to write…
  30. Here is the quote–
  31. The Information1
  32. That is the entire quote.
  33. “This is what an artist has to be: harassed to the point of insanity or stupefaction by first principles.” Right; exactly.
  34. If you’re not looking at the world and asking questions about it, then what are you doing?
  35. Why? Why cars? Why girls, why boys, why dating, why love, why cars, and stars, and bars? None of these things have to exist the exactly the way that they are, but they do — so explain to us why they are they way they are, and then tell us what the world should be.
  36. That’s writing.
  37. “Harassed to the point of insanity or stupefaction…” Right.
  38. Think of Vincent Van Gogh, killing himself, trying to paint the night sky, or a field of wheat with crows in it — killing himself, actually literally killing himself, from the hardness, from the strain of trying to show you the world new; trying to show what the world was really like in a way that the world had never been shown before, but in a way that would make you slap your forehead and say– “Oh, of course. The world was like that all along; and I never knew it, never knew it!”
  39. Van Gogh shot himself in the chest from the strain of it all.
  40. His last words were: “La tristesse durera toujours.”
  41. “La tristesse durera toujours.” The sadness will never end.
  42. Think about that one, the sadness never ending like that.
  43. Maybe write something about it.
  44. Write something about it; the world new, but the world as it always was.
  45. That’s it. That’s your assignment.
  46. Are you ready?
  47. Then begin?
  48. . . . . .
  49. Are you finished, done?
  50. Good.
  51. Then rip it up and start again. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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