Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (Part 1)

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There are four kinds of writers according to Dorothea Brande in her book Becoming a Writer:

-The writer who is afraid of becoming a writer at all-The writer who has written one book-The writer who writes occasionally-The uneven writer

Which one are you?

becomign a writerThis is what I like about this book. It talks about the psychology of the writer. The problem with the writer is that most of her problems are psychological barriers that can be overcome. A writer needs to have self-confidence and self-respect; being plagued by self-doubt is not a virtue, though it could be a sign that you should be writing after all.

Brande believes that there is too much of pessimism in an MFA course. The class usually begins with a blanket judgement that writing is not for everyone. When you join engineering school or medical school, is there an assumption that you will fail in all probability? You could, but you would not pay capitation fees and subsequent fees if this were the case.

In fact, there are many stereotypes about writers( this is is an old book-published in the 1930s). Writers the child-like, writers the naive, writers the witches, and today writers the authorpreneurs. These are all myths. Writers can be taught writing and for this all that is needed is introspection. A writer should go a little zen- and watch what stops her from writing. That’s the first step to becoming a writer at all.

You might have started out as a book lover and then a book fanatic and then got it into your head that writing is a good job. So you start writing, do a few freelance gigs, join a content mill, feel the pain of regular writing, detract, zone out and write a book and then decide maybe you need a proper job. This could be the story of my life and many others. But you need to understand that to be a writer you have to deal with the dual you.

There’s the sensitive you who records the universe and the critical you who hates everything about you and your writing. A good writer is someone who knows which you helps at which moment, so the you who really wants to observe the universe must do her work and then recede when the critical you comes to examine ruthlessly what has been written.

This is all easier said than done. But one thing that writers can do is write every morning- you must have read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, where she talks about morning pages. Wake up half an hour early and before you pick up your phone, write. Maybe pen and paper would do for morning pages as the computer screen could be a distraction.

Write every day at a fixed time. Respect that time and double the output as you progress. If you can’t do this, however much you try, it means you might as well think of an alternate profession, Brande says. “There is no wage slave so driven that you can not snatch a quarter of an hour from a busy day if he is not earnest about it.”

I needed those words of wisdom. One must get over the excuses, otherwise, how will the book ever be written? Good thought, this NaNoWriMo.

Lots more wisdom from this book coming up in Part 2

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (Part 2) | InstaScribe

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