Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Riding the Mental Tsunami - by guest author Dean La Douceur

I’m pleased to support the craft and talent of a fellow scribe. When Jennifer asked me to contribute a blog, I was delighted to do so. Let me share with you some ideas on writing and being a writer.

Calling yourself a writer is one of the most fascinating acts a person can do. Unlike a salesman, a dentist or a quarterback where someone hires you, licenses you or drafts you as such, you and you alone are the key to calling yourself a writer.

In this era of social media, blogs and highly self directed content, there are more opportunities to call yourself a writer. But the key is that you have to be comfortable with this before others will recognize you as such. I still recall the first time I was introduced by someone as a writer. My daughter’s godmother Carolyn was introducing me to some of her friends, when she first told them I was a writer. It was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. Someone else recognized what I really wanted to be. In fact, it is still my favorite way to be introduced.

I have a friend who aspires to be a writer. He seems somewhat envious of me at times for being one. He is a well traveled man of great creativity and talent and would make a fine, thoughtful author. But despite all my best efforts, he is a still more of a media consumer. I know he loves movies and books. He professes that he buys a book or two a week. He is also great patron of the library. When we talk about the process, I have invoked several times the words of Ken Kelsey, who is best know for the book which became the popular movie, “One Flew Over the Coo Coo’s Nest.” When asked the hardest part of being a writer, he replied “Once in a while, you have to sit down and really write something.”

Alas, what he doesn’t understand about writing and what I want for you to know is that writing is solitary and small motor. Often, writing has moments that are isolating. You can’t write with a crowd. People when they find this out wonder how someone like myself, who is larger then life, gregarious to a fault and often the center of attention though no fault of my own can want to be a writer. The truth is that this time with thought and keyboard is often quite satisfying. It can nurture my soul in a way that nothing else does. I feel closer to the universe when I am in the flow of an idea. It is my bliss, my prayer and my zazen.

When it comes to writing, recognize this truth. Great ideas are like butterflies. Butterflies will float off never to return if you don’t do something to capture them. So too, great ideas will be quickly forgotten if you don’t capture them. I’m sure you have had this happen to you at least once. I also feel the mark of a real writer is how close they are to a pen at any given time. Have you ever noticed that great ideas don’t make appointments. When they hit, they can be a mental tsunami that drowns you in ideas, colors, shapes, thoughts, experiences and insight. You can almost always find something on which you can write it down, but you are totally screwed if you don’t have a pen.

Don’t confuse being an editor with being a writer, for they are very different jobs. A parrot can repeat the rules of spelling and punctuation. But it is a deep soul that paints the word pictures for all with eyes to see. You can always go back and spell check it.

Also, don’t ever confuse writing as a short cut to celebrity. The road of great writing is littered with broken dreams, unpublished manuscripts, tossed out screenplays and ideas that have been dragged across the desktop and into the recycling bin. If you want to be assured of being a celebrity, the best answer is for you to marry another celebrity.

I often seek inspiration from the words of Steven Spielberg, the famous director and producer. When asked how he could produce so many beloved and highly profitable movies, his response was “It all starts with the written word…” Any idea you wish to share is best explained, captured and presented when written. So, I challenge you if you are a blogger or haven’t written more then a grocery list since your last days of school. I want you to be willing to spill your spleen on paper. Share the things that mean something to you, especially if it is messy, uncertain or personal.

Now, get out there and write.

Dean La Douceur is a Southeastern Michigan-based promoter, consultant, publicist and author. He is founder of Roundtable Promotions & Publicity, an organization that sponsors business and networking that are as great as the people who attend them. Dean is also co-founder of Prosperous Artists Academy, a business development project which he co-founded with Rosh Sillars. Prosperous Artists Academy is the first business school developed for creative artists, such as photographers, artists, designers, writers and musicians.

1 comment:

  1. Dean, I really enjoyed your article. I particularly liked the section where you said if people want to be a celebrity, they should marry another celebrity, not become a writer. I also want to commend you on your observation that writers always have a pen. Unfortunately, we do not always have paper and ideas end up on the back of a hand or a gas receipt to be viewed again later. Some people write in hopes of having a screenplay or novel picked up and made into a movie. True writers write because they must. They hope their words resonate with someone, but would write even if only for themselves. I believe everyone has a story to tell...some are just more eloquent than others in their delivery.

    Great job!