I have been hearing the advice for years to read everything you can get your hands on if you want to be a writer. I have been a casual reader, but didn’t really grasp the intention behind this advice until recently.
Setting out to accomplish any large project is usually majorly overwhelming, and the largeness of a project can be what sinks us before we even start. I am a person who wants to write a book, but how do you write a whole book? I still have no idea. There is plenty of logical advice out there, but when it comes down to it, every time I have tried to start I have gotten overwhelmed by the thought of writing a book and quit before giving it a fighting chance.
I get excited that maybe I will read three books in my genre and then I will have a grip on what it is to write a young adult series book. Ya, right. Just to finish one book typically takes me at least a week. I also get discouraged that I want to have written a book like last year already. Why bother starting again if I couldn’t get it done before now?
These are the questions that trap me into thinking I’m better off not bothering.
Tuning in to the Guidance
Then the other day, as I was reading my current young adult book (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell), I started thinking that it would probably be immensely beneficial to start actually paying attention to how she is writing. How many scenes are there in a chapter? How many named characters are in the book and how prominent are their roles? How long are the paragraphs?
Obviously this information varies greatly not just between books and authors but also within the same book. But it has been really eye-opening for me to start approaching reading as not just something fun to do, but also as it’s own form of research.
I don’t really have very much writing training under my belt due to my more science-y curriculum in college, but that is really not a good excuse. There is so much information out there. I feel like anyone could teach themselves how to do practically anything with all the information available freely on the internet and through libraries.
For me, right now, it is writing a book. But whether the goal is to lose weight, train for a marathon, knit a sweater, learn a new language, start a blog, or any other idea from an endless selection, there is so much information out there just waiting to guide us.
Being Weird Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing
I can’t remember where I read this (likely from Deepak Chopra), but this is one of my thoughts as I go into my daily meditation:
“The universe not only wants but needs you to get your dreams.”
I am pretty sure the world needs dreamers, and needs us to make it better. So, I always tell myself that achieving my dreams is not only good for me but will somehow be good for the world. And that the world needs me to follow my dreams. After all of my self-help book reading, I am convinced that everything is connected somehow, and that when you want something that is good, the universe delivers what you need to make it happen. We just have to be sure to stay tuned in so we don’t miss it.
So, there you have it. My crazy “The Secret” philosophy. Right now I am reading Doreen Virtue’s book Assertiveness for Earth Angels, which I will review soon. I will never forget seeing her at the I Can Do It conference in San José last year, when she said “I get to be a professional weird person”. I almost didn’t go to her lecture because I thought it might be a tad “out there”, but a girl convinced me that I shouldn’t miss it. I’m so glad I didn’t! Maybe this world needs some more weird. Namaste.
image credit: ElementsOfPersuasion