Monday, March 17, 2014

Thoughts on Writing

Long ago, I started reading Cecil Murphey's UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN but haven't gotten back to it in some time.  I picked it up this morning to read a few chapters while I sat in the massage chair and found several worthy tidbits to share. 

I find I identify with Mr. Murphey's writing style easily and much of his wisdom speaks to my heart.  His conversational tone and commonsense approach are quite relatable.  In what I read this morning, there were many words of wisdom.  For example...

"It's much easier to edit a page of writing than it is to edit a blank screen."  He encourages the reader to write first from the heart ("creatively") and "second from the head" so the writer can "edit analytically" thereafter.  Well, that seems commonsense though can be quite difficult for some.  I read all the time of writers who find it easier to edit as they go.  I cannot.  It is much easier for me to write first (though it is typically a blank pad of paper rather than screen) and then go back to edit and re-write.  How about you?

Murphey talks about being true to oneself and unafraid in one's chosen risks in writing honestly, simply and transparent.  He says, "I would rather be disliked for who I am than to be admired for who I'm not."  I found this so true as I think many of us, as writers, face those fears of "Is it good enough? Will others want to read it? What if I can't find a home for it? Is it too honest? Too bold? Too this? Too that?"  One can't hide from feelings but needs to write from the heart to really make a reader feel something and want to continue reading. 

Murphey also discusses the fact that writers, write.  Always, without waiting for inspiration.  While inspiration is welcome, one cannot depend on it as, "to write only when you're inspired devalues the craft and defies your need to learn and improve."  He talks about the feeling that we, as writers, shouldn't feel we are unable to write without inspiration or some outside force.  We need to rely on our skill and abilities, our effort and fortitude as writers for, "if you work at your craft and write regularly, you develop whatever talent you have.  The more you use what you have, the greater your improvement." 

This is so true of all things.  Take a professional or Olympic athlete, for example.  He/she doesn't wait to "feel like" training; he/she just does so.  It is part of who she is, part of what defines her.  Thus, we write...because that is who we are and what defines us. 


  1. Murphy's book sounds like it has a lot of good information. I tend to edit as I go (it's the English teacher in me), but wish I could just write straight through and then go back. It might not take me so long to write a story that way. :)

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Beverly! It does have a lot of good information. I envy your ability to edit as you go a bit. While it may take longer, I think it would help me cut what isn't working more easily. The longer the words linger on the page, the harder they are to delete even if something isn't quite right. Maybe a balance between the two approaches is something I will strive for:)