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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday Writing: On Myths

image from freedigitalphotos.net
by Graur Codrin
Writing is fraught with myths, many romanticised and some downright damaging.  It's taken me a while to spot some of the dangerous ones, and I'm probably still in thrall to some others.  Here are the ones that I can mostly remember are, in fact, false.  Feel free to let me know of others in the comments!

Writing = Fiction
Although I have had some success as an educational writer, I find it all too easy to completely write off my non-fiction writing as somehow not real or not proper.  Let me be clear: this is absolutely a self-defeatist thing.  I have no problem taking other people's non-fiction or educational writing seriously.  I found this view particularly difficult with the standard advice to write every day, as I found myself all-too-easily discounting the teaching-related work as writing.  So, clearly, I needed to add daily fiction work on top - which was soon too much.

Real Writers Have Ideas Constantly
OK, so maybe they do - but I had to learn to sit down and find ideas.  Once I stopped hoping the muse would drop in some time and simply worked at generating ideas, everything changed.  It's easy to believe that if ideas don't find you, you aren't supposed to be a writer, but the truth is rather more prosaic.

Both of these myths have kept me from writing for a while.  They can be powerful traps for the unwary would-be writer.

What other myths can stop our productivity and creativity?

1 comment:

  1. Beth, thanks for your comment on my review of Mo Hayder's Gone. Just to let you know, one of her books is included in Transworld's Crime Caper Challenge (They send you 3 books to review)! Head on over to http://www.between-the-lines.co.uk/?p=260 if you want to join in.

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