How To Be A Better Writer: Edition One

Nobody’s perfect; I’m sure even the Dalai Lama himself has a few character flaws left to work on before 2k18 rolls around. Improvement is always possible, no matter how skilled you are in a particular field. If you feel your way with words needs a tweak or two, here are some morsels of wisdom I’ve picked up as the years have ticked by and my pen has evolved into a QWERTY keyboard.

Let it flow. Like a menstrual cycle or a riverbank, your words should ooze out as organically as possible. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to pen something for somebody else? Naturally this is because you’re not invested in the results. Even if you care second-hand, if the words aren’t a reflection of you than the pressure is no way near your shoulders. Relax into your writing. Remove your judgement. Ignore the outcome. I guess I’m advocating ‘mindfulness’ here, which is just a buzzword way of saying ‘be in the moment’. A lifelong battle for all adults but one that pays off, particularly in the realm of wordplay.

Kill your darlings. Egocentricity is a habit of humanity. It seems ludicrous to the self-proclaimed writer that any element of their literary alchemy should be omitted from a paragraph because it might be a mis-match in tone, intent (etc.) but sometimes this is the case. Accepting that is the first step on the road to getting over yourself and producing more coherent texts. You can always save a killer line if it’s truly too poetic to dispose of entirely. That’s the beauty of CTRL+C.

Do it. You can’t be good at it if you never do it. So do it, a lot.

Narcotic abuse ‘Worked for Bukowksi. While I think it’s crass to present an image of yourself as a drinker who writes, rather than a writer that drinks, I will acknowledge the inspiration that uninhibited thinking and serotonin-depleted pondering brings. I’ve had inebriated states that enable me to stop procrastinating and continue wording, along with morning-afters that turn me into Socrates for a few hours on account of my philosophical word-vomit. Choose your poison wisely and don’t over-indulge. I’m not going to let my flippancy take the burden of your poor willpower, reader.

 

 

 

What Does Five by Five Mean, Faith?

One frosty night, not so long ago, I was scrolling upon my phone in lieu of sleep. The app was named Instagram, the posts were endless and the quotes were #deep. Upon my casual perusal I stumbled on a few words that caught my eye. ‘Five by Five’. Those 3 words stared me straight in the face as an image flashed to my frontal lobe:

Image result for faith buffy gif
Faith Lehane

Faith! Her catchphrase has boggled our noggins for decades. I, myself, accepted it as another one of Joss Whedon’s linguistic inventions and thus questioned it no more. He likes a bit of insular lingo, and Faith has a devil-may-care demeanour. Phrases that don’t make full sense align well with a psyche that spares little thought to philosophy, I thought. Until, in my 25th year, I saw this:

Image result for if it won't matter in 5 years
Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It’s a pretty solid perspective. I like the logical take on how pointless it is to worry because a lot of problems are inconsequential. The apathy suits Faith very well, as she puts little stock into personal relationships anyway. What if 5 by 5 made sense after all? Maybe Faith just had an idiosyncratic way of saying ‘not bad thanks mate, you?’.

You’re not sold, I know. It could well just be a happy accident from the wordsmith we know to be Whedon. In any case, there’s a nugget of wisdom there that I’m content to dip into some hypothetical BBQ sauce.

Image result for faith buffy gif
Five by Five, B.