Don’t let anyone force you to change how you write
Recently the weather here has been beautiful. And that means that I have been riding my motorcycle to work every chance that I get. There is no way to make the commute better than to cruise down the road on my Triumph with the wind in my face. Granted I bet you are trying to figure out how that has anything to do with writing, not to mention not letting someone tell you that you need to change how you write. Well let me explain. A good friend of mine once took me on a great bike ride up Pala Mountain in California. I hadn’t been riding very long, less than a couple months. And he gave me some advice that really helped. He told me that I should never change the way I ride because some idiot was trying to force me to. As a motorcyclist there are plenty of times where someone will come up and try to make you drive faster or move somehow or do something you aren’t comfortable with. This might be someone who is driving behind you. It might be someone you are riding with. It might be peer pressure from someone who isn’t even on the road but wants to see you do something stupid on your bike. In the end it you and your bike, you should ride how you want to and not let someone else force you to do anything. Writing should be the same way.
There are going to be plenty of people that tell you that you should write this way or that. They are going to tell you to use this method or this technique. There are plenty of books on writing and how to write. And I think that for the most part each of these people and resources are good for something. They are all tools that could possibly help you in your writing. But at the end of the day you should be writing in a way that you are comfortable with. Now this has nothing to do with your “comfort zone” this has more to do with how you write and the tricks, tools, techniques, devices etc that you use to get words onto the paper. While I am a huge advocate for trying new things out to see if they work for you, I also think that no one should force you into writing a certain way. Unless they are paying you or this is for a college class that will give you a degree these people are not your boss or giving you a grade that will decide whether or not you get that piece of paper that says bachelors, masters or PhD.
I think this concept is why so many people enjoy the Steven King book “On Writing.” This book is more of a memoir and a narrative that gives you a look at King’s life and how it shaped his writing than it is a book on writing technique. Sure it has plenty of guides on things like grammar and developing plots. But it does that in context of King’s life and his writing. It never says this is how you should do it. It simply says this is what worked for him.
In the end writing should be something that is all your own. It should be a compilation of everything in your life and all the things that you have learned. Your writing will grow organically from the context of you and not dictated by someone who may or may not know anything about you. Writing is a journey that will be full of twists and turns, ups and downs, fast parts and slow parts. Enjoy it. Just don’t let some idiot force you to change how you are doing it if you don’t want to.
Let the idiots honk their horn, I am going to enjoy this ride.