WORDS FROM THE WISE/PART 11 – Weston Ochse
(Stop listening to yourself)
Writing isn’t just an isolated act, it’s also an introspective one. Too much free time sitting at your computer desk means more opportunities to let your mind ramble on and turn those petty, irrational insecurities and doubts into unshakable psychological handicaps. So, what do you do?
Weston Ochse says – ‘stop listening to yourself, dammit!’
The question posed to each author is – “A young author comes to you seeking advice. They’re riddled with insecurities and completely overwhelmed by the publishing industry. What are your Words from the Wise?”
WO – If I’m unable to enlist him (or her) into my cult of personality and make him an FOW (Follower-Fan-Friend of Weston), which is doubtful, then I’d probably, grudgingly, give advice, knowing that I’ll soon be competing with the young upstart for literary work.
I mean, the field is small enough anyway, to give advice is to cut off my own arm. Dispensing my hard-won knowledge would be akin to slitting my own creative throat. Still, in a Ghandiesque moment that would make Ben Kingsly and Martin Sheen proud, I’d sit the young sad sack of a writer down and have them attend me at my knee. What I’d say to them was said to me, when I was a young upstart and the likes of F. Paul Wilson, Tom Picirrilli and Peter Straub had their own Ghandiesque moments, as I attended them at their knees.
I’ve since synthesized their words into this statement.
“You’re a new writer. You don’t know what you don’t know. You haven’t been widely published, if at all, and no one knows who you are. Basically, you don’t know much. So why are you listening to someone who doesn’t know anything?”
How is it possible you can judge yourself or give yourself advice if you don’t know anything?
You shouldn’t have any insecurities at all. You should be free to write whatever you want in whatever style you want. You might invent a new style. You might create a new way of employing narrative. Stop listening to people who don’t know anything and free yourself. Just write, dammit, and don’t pay attention to anything except the page and the characters cavorting in your brainpan.