Sorry the posts haven’t been coming as quick and fast as they were in the past. I’ve had a super busy past week and my life has been consumed with other things. So here is a quick quote on originality to chew on:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” – C. S. Lewis
“I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves: for these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development. If the impulse to write survives the hope of success, then one is among these. If not, then the impulse was at best only pardonable vanity, and it will certainly disappear when the hope is withdrawn.” – C. S. Lewis
All writers hope for success. Duh. But can you persevere through failure after failure before finally becoming successful? As Thomas Edison put it, “I failed my way to success.” The greatest works in the history of mankind, in literature, science, or anything else, have almost always been proceeded by failure after failure. I read somewhere that C. S. Lewis was rejected 800 times before being published. Today, he is considered among the greatest writers of the 20th century. Those hundreds of rejections seem daft in light of the reputation he carries today.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley
“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” – Jon Bon Jovi
As I continue to edit my novel, I believe the disappointment of not trying will be greater than the disappointment of failure. Anytime you take on something challenging, whether you “succeed” or not, if you give it your best shot, you’ll grow stronger. Keep failing. Some kind of success will come if you don’t give up.
“What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.” – C. S. Lewis
That’s right. Becoming a better writer is really that simple… and that hard. You have to write, and write , and write. As C. S. Lewis said, you learn something nearly everytime you write, even if you throw it away in the end. In the novel I am editing, I completely trashed three chapters and rewrote them. Four chapters evolved out of the revision process. It was difficult to do, but I definitely improved the story by doing so.
You learn things as you write. Reading enough blogs or attending more classes won’t guarantee better writing. If you want to turn that pen into a sword, you have to wield it constantly. Think of all the writers you respect who have their style and voice down. It took them years to get to that point. I’m still searching for my style and voice. As with anything else in life, if you want to excel, you have to work hard. Just as pro sports players spend thousands of hours in the gym to become the best they can be, you have to spend hours upon hours at your desk.
Keep writing. You will become better with every page.
So today will be a short post, but a post nonetheless. I found this quote from one of my favorite writers, Clive Staples Lewis, to be profound (as always).
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” – C.S. Lewis
This so true. The creation and exploration of other worlds only helps to enhance this once. Stories are like dreams. How dull sleep would be without them! Yes, there would be no more nightmares without dreams, but there would also be no wondrously impossible dreams. Stories are like waking dreams. In them, we can go places we could have never gone before.