I’m often struck by the contradictions of creative writing, the yin-yang if you Yin Yangwill:

  •  Writers live exciting lives, creating beauty and discovering themselves in the process.
  • Writers face poverty, loneliness, the crass commercialism of the publishing industry and a profession marred by alcoholism, drug addition and suicide.
  • As a writer you must be an artist, concerned with love, life, right, wrong, and truth.
  • As a writer you must be a sales person, out in the market, hustling.
  • Success is inside you. It comes when you stop typing and say, “That’s not bad.”
  • Success is getting published. There’s nothing wrong with money. Suppose Hemingway, Margaret Laurence, or Shakespeare had not been published? Or Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
  • Writers have to know a lot of tricks of the trade, a lot of rules, if you Strunk and Whitewill.
  • Writers only have to know how to type. Then they have to write, write, write.
  • Writing is a solitary craft. You work alone.
  • Writers need other writers, to raise questions, to make suggestions, to peel away the artificial and the cliché, and to help with the hurt feelings of rejection
  • Writers should read good books to see how it’s done.
  • Writers should read poorly written books to see how it’s not done.
  • Writers must be careful when critiquing another writer. People’s writings are part of their soul.
  • Writers must criticize. Otherwise, no one learns.
  • Writers should listen to their teachers
  • Writers should ignore their teachers and believe in themselves.Contradictions

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2 responses to “Contradictions

  1. Very insightful article, Ed. It is a conundrum sometimes. We writers do face contradictions. I find I have to consciously listen to the voice inside me and tune out all the contradictions to get the end result. Usually when I get quiet and listen, writing flows for me.

    I also use affirmations to keep my mind unified on the writing goal. I have found them to be an immensely helpful tool.

    All the best,


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