There is a piece from Ernest Hemingway’s Capital of the World short story that speaks of a father who went to Madrid and posted a newspaper advertisement that reads:
“PACO MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY ALL IS FORGIVEN PAPA.”
Hemingway goes on to write that Paco is a common name in Spain, and when the father appeared, he discovered 800 young men named Paco who were waiting at the square for their fathers.
“When a man is determined what can stop him? Cripple him and you have a Sir Walter Scott; put him in a prison cell and you have John Bunyan; bury him in the snows of Valley Forge and you have a George Washington. Have him born in abject poverty and you have a Lincoln; load him with bitter racial prejudice and you have a Disraeli; afflict him with asthma until as a boy he lies choking in his father’s arms and you have a Theodore Roosevelt; stab him with rheumatic pains until for years he cannot sleep without an opiate and you have a Steinmetz; put him in a grease pit of a locomotive roundhouse and you have a Walter Chrysler; make him a second fiddle in an obscure South American orchestra and you have a Toscanini.” – P.S.
Having trouble as a writer? I feel you. I experience that on many occasions. Well, I came across some good tips on the Internet and thought I’d share. They address the discipline of writing and how to improve one’s overall efforts:
1. Three Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills – This site gives a rundown of the basics that every writer should implement in their routine. Having a solid sense of grammar, being an avid reader, and continual practice are the main points stressed here.
2. 8 Writing Tips from C.S. Lewis – If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. Here he gives some thoughtful one-liners on how to improve your writing. It includes an outsider’s insightful commentary for each one.
3. 10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly – A professor from Duke University gives a little bit of advice on how to improve your writing, especially useful for dissertations and papers.
I don’t have much personal advice to give besides what’s mentioned in these links, but I would also make it a point to not be discouraged or complacent. On one hand, it is easy to read over what you have just written and prematurely pan it because it stinks and just give up. But don’t–you just need to keep at it. Write more, read more, learn more, and you’ll improve.
But it is also easy to settle for good quality writing when it can be excellent or better. Don’t ever settle. The best writers spend time mulling over every little article, adjective, and preposition. I know I do.
I hope this helps…best wishes to my fellow writers out there!
From my friend:
So after having a talk with one of my friends, I wrote this. It was late at night and I couldn’t sleep. The conversation was intense and I just had to get it out. It was hard to hear about a person so close to me thinking something like that. It struck me hard. You can post it on your blog or whatever. I’m hoping it will help encourage people.
Dear Best Friend,
I’m glad you’re still here. You told me about your childhood and all the crazy things that had happened. You told me how you had no hope. You told me how you tried to take your own life. I have to say that this is the one time I’m happy to hear you failed.
Best Friend, you have been a huge part of my life. If you had succeeded, you would have killed a part of me back then, too. I thank God for you and all He is doing through you. I wish you could have seen yourself now, back then. Maybe you would have realized sooner just how meaningful you are. Best Friend, I’ve never been great with words, but I really want to say I’m glad you’re still here.
EDIT: Here’s an update with a picture and live recording of Jake playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Awesome performance!
Only Jake can pull off the ukulele and orange shirt.
Tonight I have the pleasure of seeing ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro live in concert! If you don’t know him already, check him out in the video below.
Happy Friday to all, and Happy 23rd birthday to my sister out in NY!
I like Sufjan Stevens and I really like this hymn. So I thought I’d share. Check it out.
Weeks like this it is incredibly hard to write. Either you feel uninspired, or the stuff you’re putting out is crap, or both. All of this leads to floodgates of doubt, discouragement, and apathy.
But one thing I’ve learned about writing is that, like any other craft in life, it takes discipline, effort, and perseverance–yes, even sitting through days in which you feel you’d be more productive if you just slept.
In spite of it all, it’s good just to get my thoughts out and be real. After all, life in and of itself is a story, which includes even the dull moments, too. Sometimes it’s just a matter of us tuning in to the proper channel to understand what it all means.
Anyways, as I’m working on my own projects, I realize it’s important to take some time to relax. So I came across this very well-made short by the guys at Wong Fu and thought I’d pass it along. It’s creative and beautiful. Enjoy!