Ripple's No-Nonsense Approach to Writing

Ripple's No-Nonsense Approach to Writing

Chapter 1

by: _Ripple_
I, my dear Quibblonians, shamefully admit that I am an awful procrastinator. Like you, I have scoured the internet for secret documents, old wives-tales, countless tips and tricks that will help me to avoid the curse that is Writer's-Block, and despite my efforts, I still suffer from the affliction. Since you, dear Quibblonian, are reading this, then I assume that you suffer from the same curse.

After much soul-searching, I have reached the conclusion that there is no easy way to cure Writer's-Block, but that there is one, fool-proof way to rid your self of the curse. I have dubbed it 'Ripple's No-Nonsense Approach to Writing', and I'm afraid you're not going to like it.

The solutions that I generally come across in search of cures are things like listening to music, going for a walk, reading a book, day-dreaming, etc...

I disagree with all of these things.

Pauses while audience gasps in shock.

That's right, Quibblonians! I view these things as little more than distractions that get in the way of the stream of beautifully-crafted words that would otherwise be flowing from your fingertips! I see you rising from your seats, pointing pitchforks in my direction, jeering and screaming obscenities. Before you start throwing flaming torches...I'd like you to picture a scenario.

You are alone, the house is quiet, there are no distractions around you, staring at a blank page. Your fingers, which were so recently itching to write, seem strangely lifeless. Your mind, which was once brimming with schemes and sub-plots is empty. You want to write. You know that you must write, but the words aren't just coming...so what do you do? Well, you need inspiration, and the most inspiring thing you can think of is music, so you take a few minutes to listen to whatever song is bouncing off of the walls of your head...then, maybe, because your mind is still blank, you listen to another song. What harm can it do, after all?

Soon, you realise that you can't keep listening to music forever. You turn to your page again, and then- you're thirsty. Well, okay, maybe you're not exactly thirsty, but you feel like getting something to drink, anyway, or maybe even something to eat...you get up, drag yourself into the kitchen, and somehow, another five minutes slips by.

While obtaining sustenance, the hidden distractions of your household have distracted you, drawing you further away from your story. Maybe you're drawn to something outside, and find yourself going for a walk...or you maybe, you find yourself thinking about the last episode of Breaking Bad. Somehow, you find yourself distracted, but it's harmless, right? It'll just inspire you! You're certain that something will suddenly jog your mind, bringing back the words that escaped you earlier. Whatever excuse you may find, the minutes drag on...and on...and on, until suddenly, it hits you: this isn't inspiration, you're procrastinating! All of this time- wasted! You rush back to the page, your heart thumping in your chest, and your eyes land on the spotless page, relieved to see that it remains safe and sound, just as you left it...but what now?

What now?

A question asked for centuries, by philosophers and writers alike. Ladies and Gentlemen, here is your long-awaited solution to the question to end all questions. My simple, two-step plan of action:

1. Ask yourself: What are you going to write?

2. Write.

Ah, did I say the plan was simple? Miscommunication- sorry. I meant excruciating. Like I said, this is the foolproof, but certainly not the easy way around Writer's-Block. Some of you may be staring at me in disbelief right about now, feeling scandalised, but before you throw those flaming torches...let me quote the mighty Phillip Pullman's opinion of writer's block.

"I don't believe in it. All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don't get plumber's block, and doctors don't get doctor's block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?"

Harsh words...but the first time I read them, I took them to heart, and haven't forgotten them since.

Quibblonians, I've been referring to Writer's-Block as a curse, more out of habit than anything else, but the truth is, I don't believe in Writer's Block. It doesn't exist. Whether you're brimming with ideas, and whether you feel like you've just dragged your brain through a mile of dirt, you can write, and if you try, you can write well, all it takes is those two, aforementioned steps.

Here's the part where I elaborate.

1. Ask yourself: What are you going to write?:

This should be obvious. Don't expect inspiration to come to you while you're staring at a blank page. If you don't know what you're going to write about, then why are you sitting there, trying to drag words out of the darkest corners of your brain? Only in this situation do I condone the walking, the day-dreaming, the reading, and other activities that you believe may lead to your inspiration. In case you're confused, this kind of lack of inspiration is nothing like what most call Writer's-Block, this is just...not having a storyline. Writer's-Block is when you have, at least, the basic fundamentals of your story down, but the words just won't come. After you know, however, what your story is about, then congratulations! There's really no reason why you shouldn't advance to the second stage: Write!

***

2. Write:

Undeniably, the most difficult step. You know the basics about your story, so now, all you need to do is connect the dots. How do you get from A, a blank page, to Z, the ending that you envisioned for your story? Sadly, dear Quibblonians, only you can answer this question in full. The first half of the answer is, as the title says, just write. Remove all distractions, and focus on what needs to be done. If you really try, if you really think hard, you'll see the path that you need to set out before your characters. The second half, the intricate little details of the story, that takes creativity and determination to achieve, and something unnameable that is unique to you. Believe me, you can do it, just write, and eventually, you'll find that it isn't as hard as you thought it would be, after all.

***

Inspiration, Conclusion, and some Motivational Talk:

I realise that I left some loose ends (Oh- damn, no Linde, that wasn't supposed to be a reference...) in my first step. Even from here, I can hear you calling out to me in outrage.

"Inspiration? What is this inspiration of which you speak? Where can I find it!?"

Boy, do the voices of eager writers reach far...

We all find inspiration in our own way. Personally, something about the things that inspire me has always felt very personal to me. I'm not going to tell you how to get inspired, but I will tell you where I find my inspiration.

For me, writing is all about emotion. In order to write, I need to feel. I pick up emotions every day, and occasionally, I come across some rare, special emotion, that moves me so deeply that I want to remember it forever. I want to immortalise it, and the way I choose to do that, is by re-creating that emotion in a story. This is where my inspiration comes from. Sometimes these feeling come from music, sometimes they come from books, heck- sometimes, they even come from video games. I remember once, watching as a breeze caused the whole world to come alive, on a day that had previously been still, and suddenly wanting to run away and cry, because of some strange feeling that had overcome me. If I could compare that feeling to a book, it would be, undeniably, 'Silver Brumby Whirlwind', specifically, the first chapter. It's a book I haven't read since I was eight years old, but still, I'll connect those two things forever.

So, that's my secret. I'm sure you have some of your own, and if you don't, then just wait, inspiration will come to you. Now go, search for the ideas that undoubtedly lie hidden in the strangest of places- they're can't wait for you to find them, and when you do...well, then you have no excuse to get out of the excruciating pain that is writing. Remember that you're in control of the words- not the other way around. It's up to you to decide when you write, not some dull, sluggish feeling inside of you that we know as Writer's-Block. You're better than that. You are a writer, and the only thing in the world that can stop you, is yourself.

I hope this helps some of you. Incidentally, I wrote this in one sitting, managing to resist the temptation to get up and take a break. I thought it would be too hypocritical of me if I did. Now that this is over, it's time to change my Skype name to Walter White, and scare my friends. ^.^

Love,

~Ripple

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