Why do we write? Writing has the potential of catharsis and empowerment. When we write, we give a piece of ourselves and our imaginations, to the world. It can bring change, inspiration, and hope to the world. As writers, we hold immense power in our pens or, more often, keys.
We’ll discuss how to improve writing skills, share important quotes from authors, and look at an interview with our EIC and founder, Alyssa Sykes.
Four powerful quotes from four powerful, female writers:
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.”
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and look at it, until it shines.”
“I write to please my readers. I write to entertain them and move them. I hope that at least on an individual scale, my work can be a balm to those suffering, as many works of writing have been to me. I hope that it might make one person survive that much longer by finding a kindred. So I suppose that is a kind of resistance. Our survival.”
Here at SeaGlass:
One of our staff writers encapsulates how transformative writing can be in this lovely piece from Isla Mccullough!
Here’s an excerpt:
“Writers are the Greatest Devils”
‘I chose to be a villain. I chose to transform myself into someone who will make their characters suffer in order to create the best narrative. I chose to be the puppeteer. I chose to be one of the greatest devils of all.’
What kind of power does writing give you? What do you hope to accomplish with that power?
Next, we’ll dive into some writing advice. Here are three pieces of writing advice that can give you the confidence and power you need to help improve your writing.
“Read. Read about the craft, and the business of writing. Read the kind of work you’d like to write. Read good literature and bad, fiction and fact. Read every day and learn from what you read.” —Octavia E. Butler
Breakdown: Reading is just as important as writing is to your process. You can not only discover new writing styles and different plot devices but you can also weed out styles, structures, and other writing choices. Ones that wouldn’t work in your piece. There’s always something to learn when reading.
“The best advice I ever got was to ‘choose the important over the urgent.’ The gist of this wisdom is that nearly all things that seem urgent now are in fact not terribly important…I have tried very hard to focus on things that matter most to me — craft and themes — rather than focusing on the things that seem pressing at the time. There’s an awful lot of noise and static, and it takes painful effort to listen for things that have timeless value.” —Min Jin Lee
Breakdown: Find something you’re passionate about in order to “focus on things that matter most.” If you’re passionate about what you’re working on, it makes the writing process smoother and shows in the end results. Trends come and go but fostering your own interests lasts longer.
“I keep lists of ideas and when enough of them seem to be speaking to each other, I put them in the same document and try to connect them. Or I’ll start with an image I can’t get out of my head, and try and make sense of it on the page. There’s a real pleasure to being surprised by my own characters or plots, which is really just a way of saying there’s a pleasure to being surprised by my own subconscious.” —Carmen Maria Machado
Breakdown: Keep a list of ideas in a notepad or a notes app. Have this on you at all times to keep them all in one place. Once they are written down, you can connect them to see different themes and plots in new ways. Being able to see your ideas come together in new and exciting ways can give you, the writer, a different or better path.
Thanks to our EIC and founder, Alyssa Sykes for rounding out our ‘The Power in Writing’ post with an interview all about her writing habits, processes, and inspirations!
What’s your favorite aspect of writing?
I love character creation!! If I could do that without a plot I’d have a thousand books.
Do you write for yourself or others?
A bit of both, it’s a way to convey my emotions, thoughts, and views for other people to see. I also like trying to evoke certain reactions from people.
What does your writing process look like?
Long story short, type A gone wrong. I start with an idea and I try to write a few sentences about the general story premise. Then I build characters, the world, and make a very organized outline. However, when I’m writing shorter pieces I tend to just have an idea and sit and write, very much winging it.
What inspires you? Motivates you?
People inspire me. Everyone is unique and different and have something special to bring to the world. People write the books that interest me. People create movies. People make cultures. People are fascinating. My main motivator is just to accomplish my goals; I like being successful.
How do you improve your writing?
I read a lot, not just books but also advice and educational stuff. Also practicing, trying new things and seeing what works for me.
What book or books have you read over and over again the most?
The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. Also When the Butterflies Came (by Kimberley Griffiths Little), that’s a solid book.
Does writing give you power or do you give your writing power?
I’d say writing gives me power because there’s a whole world at my fingertips and I can do whatever I want with it. It’s also so powerful to see people read your work and see the emotions you have elicited through your writing.
We hope this breakdown into different authors’ advice and words helps your own writing. It’s courageous to take up a pen and write. It shows compassion, determination, and hard-work. There’s a world at your fingertips and it’s up to you to show your world to others. At SeaGlass we strive to promote your worlds, to uplift, and help you find the power in yourself and your writing.