week #8 – Having my cake and eating it too.

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By Abyrne | May 23, 2013

Here’s the thing about writing…it’s seldom ever a sit down, do my thing, get up and I’m done deal. BUT, few things in life actually are. We’ve plodded along now for some time with the ABC’s of what we know/have known all along to make us great writers, and as I got to “H” I thought…huh. What the heck am I going to write? Welllll, I came up with two bits, one is the title, and the second is the word “how”.

As for cake…when we were small we never worried about having our cake unless we got to eat it. “Having” the cake was unimportant, unless we were HAVING cake. So why is it important now? To me this speaks to the notion of the skillset we have, the props, the accessories without having the words. It isn’t enough to have the stuff and look like a writer, if we aren’t writing. What does a writer look like anyway? The image of scraggly, chain-smoking, coffee-guzzling vagabond applies to so few writers of the world today. (we all learned the meaning of cliche and decided against it).

It is not enough to look the part, you have to sit down and apply the knowledge. You go to conferences and see business cards being passed out like champagne at a wedding, but how many of the cards are for a writer who you could pick up their stuff on amazon or at a bookhop? Due dilligence in required, and that’s how we HAVE the cake. It’s sometimes sweet and sticky, sometimes dry and you might wish for sandpaper instead, but that’s the cake. Once we have done the requisite baking and frosted appropriately we can HAVE cake…as can the readers. Who brought the coffee?

Secondly, is HOW…How is one of the big six of life but absolutely the bix six of writing…Who, what, why, when, where, how?? When we were little and something happened…we would be asked “WHAT happened?” Nine times out of ten we didnt’ respond with what, but rather how….listen to any child relate a story and you’ll hear; “and then…and then…and then….” with a complete desription of the events, which person did what to whom in what order and why it was wrong or right….but it is all HOW. You don’t get the end result what, until the end.

So, as writers, we’ve been relating the BIG “H” since before we knew we were storytellers. We just need to reclaim that inner child need to relay the story bit by bit and not lump sum conclusion. I encourage every one of us to stop and listen to a child recite the details in response to a what question…you’ll find not only that it makes you smile (unless it’s your child being tattled on), but also that somewhere in there you will start sorting out the whys from the whats, and the whos from the hows…and when that happens, something magical occurs because then the tale unfolds. HOW will you tell yours?

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