It’s the result that matters

Recently I overheard a debate between a group of firearms enthusiasts. As a group they were ranging from vehement to butt hurt about their preferred theory of aiming over iron sights, and that there is more than one opinion on the issue. For me, the whole thing was resolved by one statement, “It isn’t the technique that matters, it’s the result.”

That statement is true.

It’s true about a lot of things. It doesn’t matter if you look down the sights with one eye open or two if you’re not hitting the target. In the same way it doesn’t matter if you’re first draft is typed, handwritten, or spoken into a recorder. The important part is you produce a story or article that fulfills your objectives in writing.

There are lots of techniques out there, and lots of people that will take your money and time while promising to teach you ‘the’ secret.

But, the only techniques that matter are the ones that help you get your words on the page and the ones that reach your audience.

All the other techniques, all that other stuff out there, is just stuff. It’s not practically relevant for what you’re seeking to accomplish.

The thing is… You have to find out what works for you and your audience. And, that means you have to do the work. Try different things until you figure out what works. No matter who you are, there will be some research and learning involved in becoming a proficient writer. There will be something you have to figure out in telling your story and reaching your audience.

There is no point in getting hung up on what ‘they’ tell you is the right way. There is also no point in sticking with something that isn’t working. If what you’re doing works keep doing it, and tune up the parts that aren’t working so well.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, find another solution. It doesn’t matter if your old teacher said what you’re doing is the right way. If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work, and you need to find something that does.

If what you’re doing is working, who cares about what ‘they’ say (unless they are your main audience…). History is littered with books, movies, and songs that critics said were garbage, but their audiences loved them!

What matters is what works for you. Anything else is a bunch of guys arguing about having one or two eyes open while shooting instead of proving they can shoot a target.

That’s it for this one dear reader. Find what works and do it, and I’ll see you next post!

Things are not all right… And, that’s alright!

As I write, as I tell the story of characters dear to me, it is sometimes hard to put those characters in difficult situations. It’s hard to see our character’s struggle and make hard choices. But, we have to do it. The story won’t good, it won’t be compelling, if we don’t.

A writer who really loves a character, feels for him or her, might not want to see that character in a hard place. Readers that love a character might want to look away and not see that character a tough spot either. But, the thing is… that’s exactly what the reader comes to see, a great character overcoming hard challenges and making gut-wrenching decisions.

And, your reader doesn’t get to read that stuff unless you write that stuff.

In some ways being a writer is like being a parent. We know our characters will make bad decisions, make mistakes, and end up in places we don’t want them to go. We have to let them go there, and we have to be working on a plan to get them back out (if getting them out is the best choice…).

There’s an old maxim that you have to suffer to write. It’s true, you have to have lived, at least enough to imagine being in a rough place convincingly. And then, you have to ‘ride along’ with your hero or heroine as she/he goes through the pitfalls of the story you’re creating.

It’s hard. It really is. But, if you want compelling, if you want a story people will read, you have to gut it out and go there. It’s part of success and part of the job description.

That’s it for this one dear reader. Some of you might be asking “how do I do that?” It’s a worthy question. It’s also a question that depends on who you are and what you’re writing. If you want me to give my answer, or if you have suggestions of your own, leave a comment. And, I’ll see you next post.