photo credit: Annalena McAfee
"I used to think I would have to spend a lifetime shaking it off. Now I know that's impossible, and unnecessary, and that you have to work with what you've got." Ian McEwan, 2011 (article Mother Tongue, from The Guardian)
Ian McEwen is one of the best, if not THE best writers today and I have been reading his articles, essays and listening to his YouTube video talks, as often as time permits me this past week. I decided to loosely write down some of his great advice for writers.
Also, I have become mildly obsessed with YouTube videos on writers giving interviews on writing, the process, the rewrites, the constant edits and the life of a writer. David Foster Wallace is a real thought provoking writer and everything that comes out of his mouth is like every work he's ever written. It is complex and lengthy.
I also watched some videos from The University of Iowa Writers Workshop. I turn a little green watching Iowa Workshop Writers discussing how they found out they had been accepted in the program. I feel punched in the gut after the credits roll, if only, I confess to myself, if only. I love writers. I love this school. Every book I have read, that was written by a former student of the program is in my eyes, brilliant.
Back to Ian the great. Here are a few paraphrased advise tips. I ingest these like a starving animal, no fat, all meat, perfect to feed a writers mind..
A writer must be/have
- -a hoarder of words
- -set aside time to write
- -expectations placed on you to produce work
- -writers need to read
- -take reading serious
- -become a devoted reader
"I've always believed it is very important to show up at the desk. whether you have ideas or not. You've got to have the work ethic that makes you show up." Ian McEwan
All the above are simple. Yet, so important.
Ian McEwan wrote two of my favorite books, Saturday & Atonement. Sadly, I own neither. I have read both and even watched the movie adaptation of "Atonement" and it is one of my favorite movies, much like the book. It translated so fine into film. He also talks about where he gets his ideas for stories from. He walks. Taking long walks, watching the world, people and being open, allows ideas to sprout up within him.
If you have never read McEwan, read his work. If you have not seen Atonement, watch it.
My Friday conclusion for the week. Now the weekend begins and I welcome it. No more YouTube videos this week. Ian McEwen's writing tips has me pushing myself to write and continue with completing a piece of fiction I started months ago. I go back to the story, write a little, then stop, this week I will work on finishing it, placing upon myself the expectation to finish by next Friday. Then the grueling task of finding the perfect place to submit it.
May you all have a great weekend and hopefully read a little, maybe a lot. Happy Readings!
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