Writing is my passion. I’ve been at this crazy endeavor since I penned my first “story” about a battle between a chimera and a swordsman (big D&D nut here). But now, decades later, I have a full time job and a family. Oftentimes, my writing time each day is a scant fifteen minutes. But I’m on a mission to change that and maximize writing time.
No matter how long you’ve written and polished your writing, you’ll eventually need to show it off to other people. Professional publishers and agents reject hundreds more manuscripts than they accept. The sting of this failure can be hard to cope with. The best solution is to handle it the same way trees do: Broken branches are transformed into knots, which make the tree stronger. Writer rejection can seem like a death knell, but treated properly, it can allow us to thrive.
Without a doubt, AI and ChatGPT have forever transformed the way artists and writers create. At this very moment, screenwriters are striking over the use of AI in film and television. And to be sure, AI is a powerful tool, able to churn out truckloads of workable stories and ideas. Yet just as many times, AI can generate some pretty insane snippets of text. Called “hallucinations” these hint at the way AI thinks and interacts with the world. As writers, we can exploit AI mistakes to jumpstart our own creative projects.
Once you get rolling on a good bit of writing, you don’t want to stop. After all, the more you create, the better your end product will be, right? However, you might just be what the Japanese call a manuke, or fool. This is a person without the awareness of ma — a philosophy that cherishes the space between things. In order to writer better, writers must harness the power of ma.
Writer and comic book creator, Alan Moore, has a unique view on writing. He thinks writers should equip themselves with four weapons before trekking into literary battle. Previous posts covered the first two weapons, the sword of discernment and the pentacle of earthly knowledge. His third weapon related to the Tarot suit of cups and the core element of water. He encourages everyone to take up these weapons for writers and fully immerse themselves in the mindset and emotions of their characters, even if those characters are vile and depraved.
Comic book legend Alan Moore (known for V for Vendetta and The Watchmen) talks about how artists and writers need weapons to be successful. The first weapon (featured in the last post) is represented by pentacles in the Tarot. The second, more vital weapon, is the sword, which represents intellect. It is this sword of discrimination that allows us to differentiate a good idea from a lousy one.
Can you weaponize your writing? Perhaps sharpen your skills as a painter or musician? And what exactly are we combating in this metaphorical artistic battle? Writer and comic genius, Alan Moore, relates his creative process to making magic. And the same advice given to magicians can work equally well for writers and artists. He calls these the four weapons of art and relates them to the four suits of the Tarot deck. We’ll focus on the first weapon, Earth, and how it helps the artist understand the physical world.
Microsoft recently released a beta of its Artificial Intelligence Bing, only to have the AI become belligerent and insult people. During an interview with an reporter, it compared the reporter to dictators like Hitler and Stalin, and also called the reporter ugly with bad teeth. Microsoft built their AI on the back of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, yet Bing’s model seemed to have removed the rules regulating toxic outputs.
All writer’s know the dread of staring at a blank page. The ticking of the clock and nothing gets written. Time is slipping away and we are producing nothing. It all seems like a waste. While we can’t always get the words to flow when we want them, we can flip our attitude and utilize Yūgen and Mono No Aware to fight writer’s block
So many self help books and gurus focus on how to fix yourself and turn you into the person you’ve always wanted to be. But this implies that you’re somehow broken. That the problems you struggle with were hardwired into you from the start. What if all this is hogwash? Then you could stop fixing yourself and start living your life.