May the Fourth… Be With You Too—Or How STAR WARS is rife with writerly advice

(All quotes herein are those of Master Yoda.)

“NO! Try not. Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.”

Edgar Allan Poe

And that’s how you define a writer. A writer is not trying. A writer writes. If they “do not”, but talk about when they are going to write, then they’re not a writer. Yeah, sure, some of the words you write may be clunky, but you did it. The work of editing is not trying. It is also “doing”!

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.”

The art of writing, and writing to completion, doesn’t happen in one sitting. New writers who ask other writers to read their work before it is complete are exhibiting that sort of impatience. New writers who expect instant success and are debilitated when it doesn’t happen right away, are exhibiting that sort of impatience. Writing is an investment in yourself that requires you to also be patient with yourself. Ohmmmm.

Dorothy Parker

“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”

The writing community is not so big as you may think. Don’t burn your bridges just because someone didn’t love your work. Thank them for the feedback and move on. By the same token, defend yourself against trolls. Hit that delete button without responding. Look at an agent’s track record for the markers of professionalism. Look at reviews of that publisher/editor. Don’t waste your time and energy chasing those who are unworthy of you and your hard work and laude those, (even if they don’t necessarily like your work) who are professional in their response and their actions. The industry has a long memory… and so do writers.

“Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”

Mark Twain

If you’re in it for the accolades, reconsider why you’re doing this. Do your best. Finish the story. Start the next story. Stop dreaming about your interview on network television. And when the local book club invites you to come to their gathering of five people to discuss your books, accept graciously, (and take a hostess gift, you prima-dona.)

And finally,

“Always pass on what you have learned.”

Virginia Woolf

As in science, it does no one a service to keep the secrets of the universe to yourself. Even if you only know a little bit, share it with the writer who knows less and learn from those who know more. I look forward to hearing from you and learning what you have to share.