I was busy editing AVENGARDE, and I came across a line of dialogue that was super (extra cringe-worthy) corny. I deleted it and replaced it with: SOMETHING BRILLIANT, BECAUSE IT’S EASY and moved on. I like marking mistakes and not diving into them immediately, because they’ll simmer on my mind’s back-burner and when I return, I might have come up with a solution.
But I returned to this snarky comment to myself and really looked at it, it threw my brain for a loop. Why would I write something like that to myself? What would compel me to unconsciously jot such a thing in the first place? How long has it been since I’ve showered??
The introspective questions this quote begat are as follows:
1) what is a writer expected to do for himself?
2) what is a writer expected to do for his readers?
I can answer both of these like that annoying kid who always raises his hand. A writer is expected to be brilliant, by both his readers and himself. It’s a decidedly intimidating thought.
Brilliance is an interesting thing to define. What some folks consider brilliant, others scoff at, and vice versa. It’s a subjective world, but it’s the world in which we live. My ‘problem’, and the source of my snarky reminder to myself, lies in the ease of reading, as opposed to the ease of writing. Well, hopefully you can read, otherwise what are you doing on my blog page? Looking at the mountains? Oh, okay, that’s cool…
A brilliant piece of text inspires deeper thought. They’re abstract illusions of depth that stimulate the mind to pursue various mental pathways. If the text is well-constructed, then the pool is open waiting for readers to dive in. Will they find the bottom? Who knows. HOWEVER, you can bet that the lines we read for the first time certainly weren’t so clear in the author’s first iteration. And herein lies the problem (well, my problem..)
I read brilliant stuff and because it’s easy to read, I assume it’s easy to write. And then I assume that I can sit down and tap out a world-altering sentence and, of course, rainbows will shoot out of my keyboard etc. etc. I’m stymied and confused, but I shouldn’t be. And that’s because brilliance is a seed in the first draft. It needs a hell of a lot of nurturing and pruning and delicate care before it can actually live up to its own potential.
So when you find yourself expecting great things immediately, know instead that your actions presently should sow the seeds for great things to come.
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