But in that one, garlic and holy water are the actual bane of vampire existence.
It’s hard to keep up with the differences in the massive explosion of vampire literature, TV, and films. But keep up, I do. My latest obsession – The Vampire Diaries on DVD . . . hours and hours of almost unnaturally handsome men with pointy teeth. . . it’s bliss.
For me, though, the best part is the analysis. I love hearing what myths are true for this series; I love the references to sparkly vampires and how these writers, too, incorporate a werewolf element. I love the discussion of folklore and anthropology that pervades these discussions. It’s a trend, but one I can latch my brain into.
In the writing world, though, it seems we have a tendency to latch onto trends without a lot of analysis. It seems like we take the wisdom of the current voices – the morning pages lady or the claim your writing identity guy – and absorb it like it’s, forgive the reference, Gospel.
The truth is that the myths of the writing life, just like those with vampires, only apply sometimes for some people in some situations, and it is only to our benefit as writers to study those, to analyze them for what’s true for each of us.
Maybe you are not a person who can wake at 4 am and write. Maybe you – like many, many writers before you – write best in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe you cannot sit down for a solid hour a day, but you can carve out three 15 chunks while kids do homework or a partner washes the dishes. Maybe you do not want to adopt Laraine Herring‘s practice of shaking (one I use) but sitting with an egg timer and writing out your mind for ten minutes sounds like good advice from Natalie Goldberg.
The truth is that not every bit of writing advice works for every person. As writers, we have to be wise enough to see past the trends, to study more than the bestsellers lists or the tweet patterns, to value more than blog stats and Facebook fans. We have to analyze what is true for us and take it on because, as writers, the only important thing is that we write. Our practice will feed us, but not if we try to use someone else’s food. There’s no trick to this writing life – we just have to write.
Sometimes writing at 4am, well, that’s like garlic to a vampire . . . or is it vervain?
What do you think of writing trends? Do you participate in them? Shun them? Find them immensely useful? Banal? Where do you get your writing wisdom?