by Peggy Bechko
Writing, screenwriting, copywriting – just plain writing.
There are experts everywhere. There are articles coming out of our ears. There’s so damn much! And I’m writing one right now – see the little letters skipping across the page?
So, who do we, as writer, listen to? Well me, of course. Seriously, listen to everyone and no one. That’s helpful right?
Well here’s the thing. You read, you write, you read some more. You absorb and let it all stew around inside your head. You get a great mentor (nods to Larry) and you write some more. BUT and it’s a big but, as any master writer, mentor and expert can tell you, it doesn’t matter how much you learn, you’ll never create exactly like that guiding star. You just won’t. And that’s okay, what YOU create shouldn’t be exactly like what’s been created before. If for some strange reason it does come out exactly like theirs, then you’ve messed up and not allowed your own muse to step into that web of learning and come up with something new and fresh.
Writers are artists. They learn the basics, then start adding and allowing their own person views and tastes come through. Basically there is no set of rules. Well, only one. It’s imperative when writing (anything) that the reader is grabbed by the throat so firmly that that reader must keep turning the page of your script or manuscript or advertising copy. If you’re a writer it doesn’t matter how you get to your final destination. All that matters is what you’ve finally created and how intensely you’ve grabbed that throat.
So where does all this take us? Simple. If some ‘expert’ tells you there’s only one way to do it that expert is one of many things. Stupid, overbearing, full of him or herself, untutored, probably unpublished and/or unproduced…you name it. What resources a writer chooses to integrate into his or her process, whether it’s books, personal contact, classes, or online resources, it’s a method that belongs to that writer alone.
Most writers who mentor others in any way don’t expect a clone or even want one. Really. On the other hand, they’re no doubt honored when a writer they’ve attempted to help and guide has taken their advice, added to it, played with it, and came up with something fresh and original. Go ahead, ask an established writer if this is true for them.
Whatever resources you employ as a writer, allow yourself to be inspired, uplifted and propelled forward. Whatever the source, that’s what expert advice should do for you as a writer. Inspiration, not lock down. Write with reckless abandon. There’s the road that lies before you. Fear of failure can take you down. Don’t let it. If in all your explorations, in person, in books and online, you garner just one lovely nugget of information you can turn round and round and benefit from then it’s worth the journey.
And remember, what speaks to one, may not speak to another. What works at one time, may not do so another. It all depends on the project and on the evolving skill level of the writer.
Oh, and before I go for this round – remember opinions that differ, approaches that may seem strange to one should all be embraced. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the web trolls or self-appointed reviewers who always find the negative. The behavior we see frequently on the web is junior high school, unprofessional and just downright unacceptable. It’s amazing how afraid people are to disagree, especially with some ‘expert’ with a huge following. Stand up. Disagree. Move forward.
That’s it. Pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page