Imagine If Yoda Were Your Writing Coach...
Writers live a solitary life. That’s a fact. You spend hours planning, writing, rewriting and editing your masterpieces, only to have them rejected by every agent or publisher you have the courage to show them to. So wouldn’t it be fabulous to have an on-call writing mentor, a wise and experienced coach to guide you through your writer’s journey? Well, you have! Here, captured in the timeless wisdom of one of the greatest mentors in storytelling history, the great Jedi Master, Yoda, are 10 simple tips guaranteed to transform you into a Jedi Knight of the Write! “You must unlearn what you have learned.” When commencing anything new, you need to arrive at the front door with an open mind and your judgment suspended. Most importantly, leave any old training and ingrained ideas about the topic you are learning, well and truly outside that door.
Writing is absolutely no exception to this rule. I have found it much easier to teach complete novices, and those with open minds, than trained journalists or graduates of writing courses, especially when it comes to the basics of freeing the imagination for fiction. For those of you who think you need to write it perfectly the first time – unlearn that! For those of you who think you write with the logical, left side of your brain – unlearn that! For those of you who think that only a gifted few can write well – unlearn that! And for those of you who think you can only write when touched by the muses – unlearn that! If you can think and speak, then you can write. Period. No other prerequisites required.
“(What’s in there?) Only what you take with you.” The world of fiction is the world of your experiences mixed with your imagination. As you venture into this world to retrieve the images, feelings, impressions and ideas in the way that is truly unique to you, you do indeed learn that the only things you can encounter there are the things that you take in with you. No one else on the planet, or in history for that matter, is where you are now, has been through what you’ve been through or has your own unique view of the world. Honour these views and experiences. Allow them to flow freely through your pen or fingers. It is only when you write truly that others will relate to your words. Readers can spot a fake a mile away. “Try not, do or do not, there is no try.” This may come as a surprise but you must never try to write well, or you will never write well.
Don’t try, just do. In other words, capture first thoughts, keep the pen moving, let yourself write complete garbage. Just do it. Just write. It is only by sitting down every day and writing that one becomes a writer. “A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force.” Substitute the “Force” with the “Unconscious” or the “Imagination”, and you’ll have a better idea of what this Yoda-ism means. As a writer, your strength flows from your own unconscious, as this is where all your collective experiences, impressions and memories are buried, just waiting to be exhumed as challenges for your characters. The ability to exercise these creative muscles, keeping them strong and toned, is the fuel that will power your stories. “There is no why.
” One of the greatest leaps you can make in your writing, and indeed in your life, is the ability to stop asking why! Do not seek the reason for anything you write. Do not seek the reason behind the images you see, the voices you hear, the impressions you get, the dialogue you write. It just is. And it is, because it’s you, and only you, who can write that at this time. As soon as you stop to ask why, you drop into an analytical frame of mind, and genius is lost. Creativity is stifled. Imagination cannot function. Let the critics ask why. That’s their job. Your only answer to the question of why? need be “because it was there.
” “You must complete the training.” When it comes to writing, or any other art form, talent or genius actually count for very little. Writing is a craft, and like any other craft, the writer needs to work at it constantly, honing his skills and refining his technique. Study your craft, learn from many teachers, add to your skill set, it will make you a much better writer. And it was Michael Jordan who said, “the harder I trained, the luckier I became”. Keep studying. Always be in training. As a writer you are like an athlete. Footballer players don’t hang out at home all week, or spend their days surfing or playing golf.