Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Writing in Theory & Practice: Slay Your Monster

Writing is a compulsion. It’s an evil little virus that infects you, changes you, perverts you and ultimately corrupts you. Writing is painful and fraught with rejection. The victories are small and fleeting, and yet, we who strive to put words to paper have no choice but to continue. It is a demon that we battle and that we eventually succumb to.  I could try to warn you away from this fool’s errand, but I won’t. See, if you’re reading this, especially if you’re bright-eyed and at the cusp of launching your foray into the world of letters, you’d not listen anyway. You’ve already got the bug. You’re already doomed.

So now what? How do you press on and make your mark. I’ll tell you straight up, unless you find your voice, that thing that sets you apart, then it will all be for naught. Hell, even if you find that thing that makes you unique it will most likely still lead to obscurity and ruin.

Because you’re a writer you don’t care about any of this. You were born to do this. To hell with the promise of fame, fortune, or prestige. Bullocks to an ocean of readers.

Get this in to your head right now.

There is only one person to write for… and that is yourself.

What story do you want to tell and why do you want to tell it? These are the questions to ask. There’s no sense in chasing trends. That way leads to madness. What stories speak to you in your heart of hearts? What do you have to offer, tormented scribe? What is so pressing that these words must escape your brain and make it onto the printed page? Why are these stories begging to be told?
If it’s for any of that nonsense I mentioned earlier, stop right the fuck now, mate. We write with fire and passion because we must… and if we must, then by the gods, create something that is wholly you, through and through.

Slay your monster and pour its blood onto the page.

And if someone else reads it and gets enjoyment from what you’ve wrought, well that’s just a little added bonus.

Be true to yourself and your work. The rest will either happen or it won’t, but in the end, writing with fire will consume you and that’s a good thing.

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Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose novel Shadows Over Somerset is available from Seventh Star Press. A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena. He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

Mr. Freeman can be found online at occultdetective.com or twitter.com/OccultDetective

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