The internet is a classic double-edged sword.
It can be a writer’s best friend, but also his or her mortal enemy. Our saving grace can also be our greatest downfall. I know!
How can a forum that offers up dictionaries, thesauruses, and great literary work ever inhibit your own?
The truth is revealed: the internet stifles individual thought, making you believe that the ability to tell a fantastic story or write a compelling article is somewhere out there, not in here. gestures to self
You’ll go to a webpage before you ever put a pen to paper, your original thoughts tainted as soon as you click on the first link.
What should it be? A mere consultant that you approach after you’ve written your first draft.
Fundamental truth #4: Depending on how and when you use it, the internet can be your friend or your foe.
Writing classes, such as the ones that colleges offer, can teach you important skills; they can give you handouts and show you examples of great literary prose, but the value lies in the time you devote to writing, because when it comes to producing something of importance, something that stands out, no one’s going to whisper it in your ear.
Your professors might give you a handout of “6 types of hooks to use at the beginning of a story” and then they’ll have you test each one out. But you do not have to abide! Every story does not have to begin with a dramatic action or a question or luring dialogue.
You make it your own, introduce an opening line so unprecedented that it never even crossed your professor’s mind; that’s the kind of mindset that would lead the professor to handout a sheet titled: “7 types of hooks to use at the beginning of a story” the next year.
Fundamental truth #3: You are your own teacher.
Grammar! They will insist, but you need not oblige. Some of those who we consider to be the greatest didn’t let the rigidity and arbitrariness of English tell them where their writing could venture. Broken rules of conventional language give depth, they give character, they give context, and they give…identity.
The other day I had the brilliant idea of attempting a short story, which I never do. I rarely venture into the realm of fiction, because I start on a dark path, unsure of how to escape or even where I want to end up, and so, few of those projects ever reach fruition.
I turned to the internet for inspiration…
“How to write short stories” I asked Google fragmentarily.
I found a site that offered me three random objects, actions, or people, instructing me to combine them into a short story. That type of prompt might be acceptable as a writing practice or a coping method for writer’s block, but on that day I happened to be reaching for Pulitzer Prize-quality material.
Never mind if I would ever reach that goal, because the odds are, I probably wouldn’t, but the importance exists in setting that standard, because in the miraculous event that I had the ability to create bestseller material, I’d never know, because I’d never get there, because I’d be satisfied and stop reaching for improvement much earlier on.
Fundamental truth #2: You set your own standards.
Now, I feel compelled to put a disclaimer at the top:
“WARNING: the following tips are just that, tips, not: lines you may not cross, or boundaries that an 18-year-old girl laid out. They are meant to further your writing, not inhibit.”
Anyone who tells you differently is either mislead or just trying to momentarily harness your writing acumen and focus on some key writer’s traits to nurture and grow.
You don’t need a Macbook or a Moleskin or a ballpoint pen or an idea journal or anything if you don’t want to.
Anyone can be a writer; you don’t have to meet anyone’s standards but your own, and that’s a liberation few activities other than writing can offer.
Fundamental truth #1: There are no rules.