Thoughts on writing, yeah?

One thing I tend to avoid, if possible, is talking about writing. I don't mean me talking up my own work (which I can do like no one's business when I get going), I mean the technical side of it, the nuts and bolts of putting a story together.

The glib answer to why I don't is because I don't want to get found out as being a chancer, but I think the main reason is that I seem to have a very different view on the concept of writing as a whole, which doesn't always sit well with others.

I keep saying that I'm just a simple working class lad that can sometimes put words together into pleasing sentences. I haven't done a university course that's taught me this, I haven't attended any creative writing classes. This will probably set a lot of people after me with torches and pitchforks, but I've never read a "style guide" or any books on writing. I'm not saying that you shouldn't read those, mind! Just that I haven't.
The closest thing I've ever come to studying writing in any way is reading stuff and then actually writing.

The majority of writers I've met always seem to cleave toward the more romanticised version, being a bit tortured and overly arrogant, convinced that they're the best thing since Tolstoy, making notes in the margins of their battered old copies of War & Peace, while all the time dismissing other writers because they don't like the look of them. For a long time, it made me wonder if I was just an outsider that would never be a part of this wonderful world, and I pretty much backed away from sharing my own thoughts and feelings on the subject with them, and anyone else for that matter.

Since using Twitter and getting involved with Insomnia, my view has changed. Via Twitter, I've met and chatted to some great writer types, people who seem to share my viewpoint on the whole subject, and it's become clear all those pretentious writer types are actually in the minority. It's hard to talk to people like Matt Gibbs or R.F. Long and not get swept up in the passion they have for their craft, and, for me, it makes a world of difference. For the first time in a long time, I don't feel as if I'm being left out of some super-secret club that I'll never be a part of.

But I still find it hard to talk about the nuts and bolts side of things with anyone. I guess I still feel that I'm going to be looked down on for not having read Stephen King's guide to writing or my passion for pulp SF. Maybe there's still a part of me that believes that I have to head more toward the romanticised version of being a writer to be fully accepted, even though I think that's the wrong mindset for what I want to get out of this whole writing game.

I think I've still got a way to go before I can wrap my head around it all, and maybe finally break out of my shell and be able to talk about writing properly.

Oh, and what is my viewpoint I don't hear you asking? Well, it's simple: if you're a writer, you need to sit down and fucking write, rather than flounce about telling people you're a writer.

I think I'm paraphrasing Michael Moorcock there, but it's still pretty solid advice.

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