#amwriting: Passion and Muse

The possibility of a post for this week became iffy as the close of last week hammered down on me. The critiquing of my one and only novel hounded me to no end. I was faced with the probability that I needed more grammar instruction without the money to afford it.

English is currently the universal language, yet, for the life of me, I don’t understand how the rest of the world can bear it. There are so many exceptions to any and all of the rules governing it. And I’m an American. Without the money to spend on college courses, I’m going to have to rely on fellow writers who have had these classes to point out where I make the mistakes concerning these blasted exceptions. It’s exasperating, to say the least.

Waking up yesterday morning, it hit me I hadn’t even started writing a post for today, Monday. I had less than 24 hours to get one written, edited, and uploaded with a picture of some sort. I didn’t even have a topic in mind.

If you’ve read here once at my blog how much I value silence when I write, you’ve read it at least ten times. Anyway, that’s the way it feels to me. I knew I couldn’t begin my writing until husband left to go fishing with his brother. While I waited, I attacked my email inbox full of notifications of posts by fellow bloggers. The first one on the list was from Amanda Staley, titled What it takes…. She discussed her struggles with the writing life and how some advice she had read threw her for a loop. [You should read this article. It’s a good one.]

It got me thinking about how I could improve my writing by reading more books on the subject. Except, I have 5 books sitting on a shelf next to my computer desk that have yet to be read. I’ve glanced through a couple, finding them finding they read more like textbooks from high school. My interest plummeted.

I have 2 books that discuss the craft of writing in the bedroom that I have tried to learn from but have been clobbered by the boredom bug while reading them. They still sit unfinished. Do I need to try harder to get through them? Have I picked up the wrong books for myself?

The attempt to gain anything from these books has left me feeling doubtful and apprehensive about my abilities as a writer. I know I have a passion for this craft and I don’t want to lose that. It’s what makes me eager to sit at this desk every day. My muse rarely leaves me. There are only certain conditions I have a difficulty writing and will make it waver. I don’t want my resourcefulness to dry up because of skepticism inflamed by what I’ve read.

Are there books out there that will inspire instead of cripple passion and muse?

Passion and muse are essential for the craft of writing. Without it, anything penned is going to be flat and lifeless. Because I feel strongly about this, I’m going to have to be more careful about the books about writing I buy. I’m going to have to seek out reviews on each one I consider and from people whose judgment I trust.

§

Have you found yourself picking out the wrong books about your craft?

“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”
Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

 

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20 thoughts on “#amwriting: Passion and Muse

  1. It seems you’re dealing with two different problems, though both are related to writing. The first is grammar, punctuation, and spelling issues, though I have no way of determining which of those are your actual problems. I’d suggest two books for these problems: “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynne Truss, and “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. Be sure to get an updated edition of the last book.

    Struggling with mechanics problems is not an indication of low intelligence. Brilliant people have the same problems. Some people grasp the concepts more easily than others, some are able to learn over time and with practice. Many writers rely on a line editor to correct these problems in their manuscripts, which is an expensive proposition. Every book needs professional editing and these are services that must be purchased. I know that’s a tough situation for you.

    The second problem is writing craft books, the ones that tell you how to put a book together, idea to finished product. I’d suggest Lisa Cron’s “Story Genius.” I also like “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman, and “Thunder and Lightning” by Natalie Goldberg.

    Instead of buying them, borrow from the library. Or look at used book stores or buy used ones online.

    I suggest starting with craft books so that you are able to focus on writing the best possible story. The mechanics problems can be addressed even in a finished manuscript, but trying to fix a manuscript that has core problems is a huge undertaking.

    That you have a passion for writing is the most important thing. Don’t give up, Glynis.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading your comment, I had the urge to go to my list of want-to-read books at Amazon. “Story Genius” and “Thunder and Lightning” were there, but not “The First Five Pages”. I ended up deleting 18 books from my list because I knew I would never buy them. It actually made me feel lighter. I’ll check out the price of “The First Five Pages”.

      Books I’m pretty sure I want to keep, I buy used at Amazon. If it turns out I decide I don’t want it on my shelf, I sell it to the used bookstore here in this dinky town, The Book Celler. I should get that library card. Husband Dearest will take me if I just ask.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I recently started downloading the sample of the Kindle book and read it on my computer before jumping into a purchase. That way I can get a feel for the writing style of the author. Though, after a few stinkers, I have started borrowing from the library.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. How did I forget “Rules for Writers” by Diana Hacker? I’ve relied on this book for many years. Get a newer edition – every mechanical problem addressed.

    BTW, I have a degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and I still rely on the experts for help.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll put that one on my list along with “The First Five Pages”. And that one I’m sure I’ll keep.

      Now that I know you have a degree in this stuff, I’ll be shooting you questions via email. [You shouldn’t have said anything. O_o ]

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sometimes it can be hard to get motivated about reading no matter how inspired we might be about writing. I am not a fan of reading inspirational book aboit writing because what might work for someone might not work for me. Then again, the more we read the more we know. Hopefully if you do buy another book, you will get something out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You might prefer to write in Russian. Of course, you’d have to learn the language with its 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet, and about twice as many rules as English has. BUT–they follow their rules! I love that about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know a little Greek [very little that is]. My stepsister knows Russian. I’m still not sure why she chose that language. Her mom was from Luxemburg so I would think she’d want to know German.

      I think the problem with our language is the fact we gather words from other languages and try to incorporate our rules with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would prefer reading authors that I enjoy, who also write with passion. My favorite author has been, since I can remember reading his first book, Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t know if you accept links, but I’m going to try to give you two.

    1) Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Basics of Creative Writing – this is from a a writers workshop and it won’t take long to read.

    https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/kurt-vonnegut-8-basics-of-creative-writing

    2) Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories – this is a video. I saw this live, when he was brought into Hartford for a local PBS station fundraiser. It’s perhaps more funny than helpful, but I think there’s a message in there:

    When I read his books, I realized that a writer can say anything. Grammar, structure, rules, etc. are all important. but the more you can convey your passion, the more latitude you have for bending or breaking those rules.

    Just my opinion – I don’t teach, nor am I a current student of creative writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right about the rules can be broken for the good of the story. What I was told is to do it on a need to basis only.

      Kurt Vonnegut is a riot in the video. I copied and pasted the 8 tips into my OneNote journal. 😀

      Liked by 3 people

  6. This has nothing to do about writing except that sometimes we just have to put our toes in the water…wander further and splash around and wait for it all to fall into place. Oh, and have confidence that we will always be learning and can improve.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t read a lot of writing texts, though I do have a small collection on basic grammar and creative writing tips. One advice that I have come across many times and from various sources is to read fiction books in your chosen genre. Not only does this help with your own writing style, you learn from other writers, sentence structure, grammar, use of verbs etc. I’ve learnt a lot by reading fiction and not just in my genre.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luciana, my genres are dark drama and paranormal/spiritual. I know I can find the second one but that first one is hard to find. More often than not, books in the genre are lumped together with thrillers. I really don’t write thrillers.

      Even though Greg Iles writes murder mysteries and thrillers, I am learning from his stories.

      Liked by 2 people

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