Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More on New Year's Resolutions for Writers

Writer James Tata writes a blog I enjoy that he describes as, “an informal log of recent enthusiasms.” He recently expanded upon his suggested additions to my posting of “New Year’s Resolutions for Writers”:

“I suggested replacing ‘subscribe to literary journals’ and added ‘Write only to please yourself. You might be surprised how good a writer you actually are.’”

You can read all the details here, but I thought this was especially important for us to remember:

“As for writing to please yourself, that's a cliche of creative writing instruction that is no less true for being a cliche. I once read, somewhere, Mary Gaitskill say that it wasn't until she gave up trying to please other unknown-to-her people with her fiction that she started writing the stories that she eventually and paradoxically went on to publish. It's not just writing for audiences or editors that can harm a writer's work. Writing to please that teacher from ten years ago, or writing for the sake of Literature, or writing to settle scores all implies doing it for the benefit of someone else, and we can never, ever know what someone else wants. As far as writing goes, one can't really please anyone, so why even bother? Besides, if you are at all serious about writing, I doubt you'll find a harder critic of your work than yourself, so just take it easy and turn it into a game.”


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.