In Search of You.
Creative Writing: Journey, Style, Method
By Stephen J. McConnell
Ebook: Published, 2016. Available for download on this page.
The greatest barrier to writing is often ourselves. We’re human beings and writing is — for better or worse — a human endeavor. We’re fallible. We’re insecure about some things (at least most of us are) especially when we hunker down to write and try our best to ignore the chorus of voices (the loudest being our own) that tell us we’re foolish to even try. Our writing is elevated and hindered by our humanness. But we have to work on habits of mind and tap that humanness to be successful at this craft.
Writing is also an act of courage — courage to overcome yourself, your doubts, and your tendencies (habits and perspectives that may prohibit your success). It is challenging, daunting, perplexing, evil, and one of the most satisfying experiences we will ever experience in our lifetimes especially when the work we always wanted to finish is finally complete. But it is also a craft ridden with landmines and follies because it is a human endeavor. We must learn how to overcome ourselves so we can transform barriers of writing that we have erected in our minds into mirages.
Writing Is Discipline, Discipline Is Writing
Forget The Muse. Get To Work.
To Write In The Fog Of The Night: Outlines Or Just Let It Rip?
Writing Is Evolution
Writing And Instinct
How Do Writers Create?
Don’t Forget The Poets
The Myth And Truth Of Kairos
Writing As Sacred And Not-So-Sacred Act
The Importance Of Context In Writing
To Be Precise Is To Write Well (Book Preview Essay).
Writer As Reader
On Style, On Voice
To Write Local And Universal
A Matter Of Perspective
The Journey Of Story
Please Make At Least One Writing Mistake Today
The Painful Art Of Revision
Writers Must Learn To (Unfortunately) Love Rejection
I Spy Bad Writing Advice. Or Do I?
The Importance Of Influences On Writing
Why We Write
From: Writing Is Discipline, Discipline Is Writing
Many great thoughts and ideas from the minds of highly creative and people died because of a lack of discipline. But many of us mere mortals — including myself not so long ago — cringe at the mere mention of the word.
From: Writing Is Evolution
What you write today will not be what you write tomorrow. On its face, it is a simple proposition. But like all simple propositions its truth runs deeper than what appears on the surface.
From: Writing And Instinct
Writing is instinct and perhaps it is more instinct than technique or process, riding the waves of ancient memories and feelings more so than putting ourselves in fits and wrapping ropes tight around our hearts, feelings, and instincts with process, suffocating our humanity with abstractions, systems, and other technical writing concerns.
From: How Do Writers Create?
I struggled for a moment to invent how I would go about describing the process of creation in writing. Because invention, or creation, is a mysterious thing: for how each one of us goes about channeling the energies and passions we hold within onto the page is vastly different.
From: Don't Forget The Poets
In poetry, we realize that words do not just represent things. Words have a pulse of their own, a rhythm, a sound, a pace, a tone, an atmosphere, a gravitas that when carefully strung together create a harmony of logic, emotion, and sound, making us weep or filling us with joy. Words are not just things to be used carelessly, the poets teach us. They represent images and symbols, a fluid history of rich representations that mean different things to different times and peoples.
From: Writing As Sacred And Not-So-Sacred Act
The nerves aid and destroy us when we finally get up the gall to write. We fret about word choice. We worry about our plot and characters, whether they are dynamic or as flat and uninteresting as a rotting piece of wood drifting listlessly on the sea.
From: The Importance Of Context In Writing (And Life)
We must search for this context. This is how we move from a one dimensional treatment of writing (and everyday experiences, which fuel our writing) to a multi-dimensional treatment of writing. Here, we begin to understand why our characters behave the way they do and how they came to behave that way. Here, we move from flat to dynamic. Here, we see life through a more complex lens, with nuance, texture, and depth.
From: To Be Precise Is To Write Well
Profound stories are told through precise language, language that is true, the truest sentence one can possibly write, even if it takes all day to write that one true, simple, honest sentence. Think of a gestalt image: you only need to blot the page with some black. The reader will perceive the rest.
From: Writer As Reader
When writing we must wear two masks: the mask of the writer and the mask of the reader. It is challenging to do, to be two personalities, yet one. But it must be done. As I write these words, for example, I am thinking about your reactions, your feelings, your thoughts.
From: To Write Local And Universal
The worst, most vapid stories forget the universal and focus on the local, providing us with a spectacle of sights and sounds, while leaving the human experience behind on the side of the road to perish. These are the stories that do not resonate with us, nor give us catharsis because they do not travel deep into our bones and make us shudder with joy, fear, sorrow, pity, and pain from within.
From: The Journey of Story
A story is a journey, but the road must never be straight. A good story is one that scales mountains and plummets into the unknown, only to rise again when it seems as though it never will.
From: Please Make At Least One Writing Mistake Today
Writers who make mistakes are writers who dare to challenge themselves, who dare to take chances, who experiment and push the limits, who are not afraid of breaking conventions, who are not afraid of failure, who are courageous and bold, who incessantly practice their craft and realize that those who endeavor to achieve great things in writing — and in life — will always fail.
From: Gestalt Writing
The best writing reveals the most through the most minuscule means. We must lay small stones across the stream and trust our readers to make their own leaps onto those stones, connect the dots that we have left unconnected because we must.
From: Writing Atmosphere
Feeling must permeate every word for a work to contain atmosphere. Every word chosen must reflect mood to create the atmosphere you desire, the emotional state of the environment that your characters cope or contend with.
From: The Painful Art Of Revision
We must transform the painful act of revision into a cure for our errant ways. We must build up our own personal strength to take on this painstaking process so that we can tear apart our own work — without hurting ourselves too deeply in the process. Then, we’ll build a stronger, taller house of words that may become the marvel and envy of the world.
From: The Importance Of Influences On Writing
The influences are our springboard, but it is up to us to fly.