Chapter 2: Writing You Don’t Do Alone

So in this chapter of Page After Page, Heather Sellers talks about how she always felt that writing was a thing you did alone in some dark room. It’s just you, a typewriter, and your creative thoughts. Then she learned that you are a writer everywhere. When hanging out with friends, someone might says something and it inspires your writing that you would have never thought up on your own.

She also talks about how writing always felt like it had to be a dirty little secret. I know that I will happily draw in public, but write in public just feels weird. Kind of like I’m writing in a diary and afraid someone is going to peek over my shoulder and read the secrets I’m writing down.

Heather also discusses how you should never talk about what you’re writing in great detail. Not because someone might steal your ideas, but more so you are encouraged to write more. People who talk about a story they want to write tend to never actually write them.
I kind of agree and disagree with Heather on this. Sometimes talking about a story idea can encourage you to write the story, if you’re friends are the type to encourage you to write. But then again, some people create things to get reactions from other people and getting the reaction early might satisfy that need for that type of attention.
I’m one of those types that love to get a reaction from people. If I tell people what I want to draw, there tends to be a high chance that I won’t draw it because I sort of feel like I got the creative idea out there and there’s no need to go through the hours of drawing out the idea.

So this chapter is basically telling me to not always stay in a dark box alone writing, go to social scenes (writing/reading groups, hanging out with friends, etc), shut up and listen, don’t go telling everyone your writing ideas, and some other thoughts sprinkled in.


Exercise:

A: Write on your scratch paper the answers to these questions: Do you want your “input” to look any different? Does your communal writing self need to be balanced, enriched? What would you need to do? What does your dream writing community look like? Who helps you with what, and what do you help others with, by way of writing life?

I feel like if I knew the answers to all of this, then I wouldn’t be reading this book. But one of my writing goals is to try to write terrible stories. So does that mean that I should do the opposite of these exercises?
But if I was being serious and wanting to be a good writer, I really don’t know what I would want to change. I feel like I’m already in my dream writing community – husband is a writer, plus several other writer friends I hang out with, and the group I hang out with discuss books pretty regularly.

B: To enrich your public writing self, join a book group, or find an online book group or at least some lists of books other writers love… You need to be connected with other people who are involved with books – living your writing life away from books isn’t an option. Spend one hour connecting with other readers… Practice doing the kinds of things writers do when they’re not writing.

I’m going to say that this website counts, but I’m also a part of some groups on Goodreads and discuss books we’ve read or share books we like.
But practice doing the kind of things writers do when they’re not writing? So I should be drinking whiskey or a few beers while tweeting about a movie or TV show I’m watching?

C: Design a reading program. Create a list of books you want to read- books about writing, books like the ones you want to write someday, books that other writers seem to be reading and loving – there are lots of lists of books. Create your own schedule.

My house is filled with books. Some I’ve read and a few I’m starting to read. I actually read a few pages of a book a day, it’s something that I’ve always done. Though no matter how many books I read, I’m still a slow reader.
I think I already got this one down.

Learning how to write and be a writer

It has been about a year since I posted last and I am still a terrible writer. Maybe a little closer to passable, but not much further than that.

This year I have drastically cut back on the number of conventions to attend that I have decided to spend a little more time focusing on getting some projects that I’ve wanted to get done. It also gives me some extra free time in my schedule. And so far the free time has once again kindled my interest to experiment on writing.

This won’t stop me from being an artist, that’s my passion and it won’t go away no matter how hard I try. But it never hurts to learn a little bit in a certain field to maybe help strengthen your current talents. Kind of like learning martial arts. They teach you how to fight, but they also teach you how to meditate/relax. The two things are different, but helps create balance and soon you learn how to stay calm when in a fight.

As a comic book artist, writing feels like the opposite to drawing for me. Writing might help me be a stronger artist, help me to understand what a comic book writer wants me to draw, or help me think creatively in a different way. But most of all, I hope this to be an entertaining experience filled with “Oh dear god, why did I write that?” or “Why did I think that was a good idea?”.

Page After PageHow I aim to accomplish this feat is thought guidebooks. Specifically one guidebook that I found: Page After Page: Discover the Confidence and Passion You Need to Start Writing and Keep Writing (No Matter What!) by Heather Sellers. A book with a title to drive the graphic designer in charge of putting together the cover insane.

I picked this book because it not only is a book to help encourage you to write, but also has little exercises after each chapter. My plan is to read a chapter, write a blog that will first discuss what the chapter was about and maybe show my attempts at doing the exercises.

Lets see if Heather Sellers can turn me into a writer or help  my understanding of what writers have to go through. Maybe I should buy a bottle of scotch before I start this…

Feel free to read and comment on my terrible attempts at writing. If your interested in joining me on this wacky journey, then feel free to join along. Maybe leave your thoughts or samples in the comments or give me a link to your blog with your attempts at writing using the “Page After Page” suggestions/exercises.