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  • The Secret to REAL Writing

     Anagrammer updated 1 month ago 9 Members · 17 Posts
  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    October 16, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Here’s a question I get asked a lot: “How do you make your writing so REAL? How do you get it to resonate so deeply?”Of course, I do have a secret technique, and because I’m such a nice guy, I’m actually about to spill it here πŸ™‚. The truth is, it has to do with my grandmother and the advice she gave me. You see, my Baba always told me to write about what I know.

    Thing is, I’ve taken her advice in a different direction. I write about who I am.

    I thought about this idea when my daughter, Batsheva, came home from preschool and began to jump across the kitchen floor. Well, if you were among the multitudes who heard the shrieks that emanated from the Pomerantz household on Tuesday afternoon, I hate to tell you that no, world peace has not yet arrived, but this was definitely a close second. We’ve been working with our physiotherapist for about a year now to help Batsheva learn to jump, and finally it happened. Yesterday she jumped for the first time ever!
    Have you ever thought about how we jump? Neither had I πŸ™‚. But lemme tell you, it’s pretty complicated. And to see that brain, those legs, and those arms work together in perfect tandem, generating enough push to defy gravity, was a miraculous, wondrous experience.

    I first wrote about our awesome Batsheva when she was born, three years ago. You can read that account here: https://www.amimagazine.org/…/special-gift-brachah…/ As I predicted then, Batsheva has given me way more than I could ever give her–a sentiment which many parents echo. Writing about Batsheva brought me to a different level in my connection with myself, which has automatically colored my craft. This is an intuitive, organic process not unique to my journey, but rather a process we all share. As we broaden our horizons, as we sharpen our understanding of our selves in the world and deepen our insight, the journey influences our craft and imbues our writing with new hues and richness.

    So what is the key to producing writing that is real and authentic? What’s the secret sauce? You guessed it. It’s about keeping real and connected to our own selves. It’s about being open to growth and development. When we do the inner work, our writing will naturally reflect the journey.

  • Chagit

    Member
    October 16, 2020 at 9:20 am

    <p>Thanks for your tip, Riva!</p><p>Just gotta comment on the picture- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! It’s absolutely breathtaking:)</p>

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      October 19, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      πŸ™‚ Love the picture too. The funny part is that it’s actually a stock photo that looks EXACTLY like Batsheva! My own sister-in-law thought it was real!

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    October 16, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    πŸ‘ so true<p>Writing is an expression of your deepest inner self.<br></p>

  • Rochel Solomon

    Member
    October 16, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Wow. Such beauty, such grace. The picture is breathtaking. I always wondered what made a Writers writing make such a difference. I love how you said the authenticity in yourself is the driving force. There’s writing that is fun, but the ones that I connect to most are the ones that move me and the ones that make me laugh. Very few writers have the ability to do both so thank you Riva for being one of them! I think the question should always be what moves us; then work from there. It’s funny, my bubby always tells me to leave my intense thinking for my writing and not for life (she meant shidduchim specifically but I altered it a littleπŸ˜‚). Still, it is an aphorism I live by when I write. Oh that and Anne Lamott who so expertly said – “If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” πŸ™‚

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      October 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      Love what you said here, Rochel! πŸ™‚ So true!

    • Elisheva Halle

      Member
      October 20, 2020 at 12:23 am

      <p>Love this- yes!! This is what I am discovering the more I write. Whenever I think of ideas for short stories I always start by thinking what is getting me excited now…what life lesson have I internalized recently. If I don’t feel my heart beating with excitement as I write, I know it’s not gonna be accepted…and sure enough, that’s always the case—but whenever there is a piece that I’m writing with my whole heart…it always gets accepted…interesting, no?</p>

  • Sherry

    Member
    October 21, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    <p>Riva, the image is gorgeous. Love it. </p><p>Just musing that writing and chinuch are pretty similar – the same rules apply.</p><p>Don’t teach overtly. It’s the subtle lessons (when you are not even aware that you’re educating) that are most effective.</p><p>No musser shmuess, or lecture will find ready ears. Stuff the lessons in unlikely places. Works every time.</p><p>Most importantly: teach what you are, NOT what you know. </p><p>What do you think, fellow materpiecers?</p>

    • HappiWriter

      Member
      October 22, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      <p>That’s kinda what “show don’t tell” means.</p>

    • Sherry

      Member
      October 24, 2020 at 11:57 pm

      <p>Yeah, and as a mother, this is truer than ever.</p><p>Like, if we’re overflowing with love for Shabbos, the kids will feel it.</p><p>If we daven with real kavana, the kids will be moved.</p><p>But if we stuff them with ‘this is not tznius’, ‘you mustn’t wear that’, it won’t make any real difference. (Even if they listen to us presently, it won’t be an integral change that’ll survive when they fly the coop.)</p>

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    October 22, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    <p>Riva, your secret to real writing is a real myth buster. I’ve read a lot of books on the writing craft and was always turned down by the notion of ‘write what you know’. Well, that’s a bummer if I fancy trying historical fiction or mystery. Not much I know about the early colonization in Australia. Or sleuthing. By writing what I know, I’m simply restricting myself from trying new experiences.</p><p>Unless of course, ‘write what you know‘ essentially means ‘research until you’re able to write what you know‘ which may change the entire equation…🀣</p>

    • HappiWriter

      Member
      October 22, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      <p>Essentially, “write what you know” can also refer to emotions or life lessons. Many experiences you go through in real life can be used in historical fiction or mysteries. </p><p>Leah Gebber spoke about this at the zoom event on sukkos.</p>

    • Anagrammer

      Member
      October 22, 2020 at 11:18 pm

      <p>Yeah, FF, why not research until you’re able to write what you know?</p><p>The way I always understood “write what you know” is: Life experience provides excellent writing material. </p><p>When I started writing in first grade, my stories were about the ins and the outs of competitive jump-rope games. Then in second and third grade, my stories were about friendship and class politics and mean girls. Then, in middle school, my stories were about tests and camp and friends (again). Then, in high school, my stories were about teenagers. And now about where I am now. I don’t write much further than what I know. I don’t believe I can’t; I just feel more animated about the stages, challenges, and emotions I relate to personally.</p>

    • HappiWriter

      Member
      October 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      <p>True, Anagrammer.</p><p>I have a very hard time writing about things past my own stage of life. When I try, it just doesn’t work out right…</p>

    • PassionforWriting

      Member
      October 23, 2020 at 4:25 pm

      Yup, yup and yup! I agree 1,00%! I also write about my experiences. Those are the benefits of “colorful” experiences in life.. if you know what I mean…

    • Sherry

      Member
      October 24, 2020 at 11:53 pm

      <p>I don’t know, Anagrammer. </p><p>Don’t you think ‘write what you know’ is referring to the depth of emotion? You can always extrapolate your experience to something way different. Like, d’you know the song from Abi Rottenberg: Who am I?</p><p>http://www.jyrics.com/lyrics/who-am-i/</p><p>When you draw on those feelings that connect us, I can easier connect to your writing. It’s doesn’t have to be the same loss, the same disappointment, the same desperate hope or gut-wrenching longing. But when I read it, it has to stir within me an emotion that enables me to join you or your ride. Get what I’m trying to say?</p><p>When I think of ‘write what you are’, it’s a bit like Elisheva said, a mindset I’ve acquired (often after a laborious process) or insight I’ve acquired that I’ve managed to make my own. I can then share this with a level of passion and ‘realness’ that makes the writing compelling. </p>

    • Anagrammer

      Member
      October 25, 2020 at 12:21 am

      <p>Agreed, Sherry. </p><p>I guess what I meant was that (although I can write about a girl my age who is experiencing something I never did) it’s hard for me to put myself into the mind of a character who’s much older than myself… </p>

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