Chronicling the journey of writing

by Veronica Louis

Chuck Palahniuk: Literary MastermindWho is Palahniuk? Two words: Fight Club. Before the film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton became a cult classic, it was a book written by none other than Mr. Chuck Palahniuk.

Authors to me are like über superstars. I would gladly wait in line for hours to meet my favorite author, but I’m not so sure I would do the same for my favorite musical act. So when I heard that Palahniuk was coming to Montreal in 2009 for a book reading tour to promote his book Pygmy, I was more than eager to purchase the book the day it was released and attend the event.

In real life, Palahniuk was a hoot. I remember him having a natural charismatic attitude and cracking jokes every other sentence. I don’t remember why, but the night of the book reading he was wearing a kilt. And he owned that kilt like a supermodel owns six-inch stilettos.

After the book reading I patiently waited in line to get my book signed, I was flushed with anticipation as my turn was approaching.

“Chuck! I love your books! All your books!” I gushed. “You are amazing!” I’m telling you… I was star struck. He was all smiles as he thanked me. “I want to write too,” I told him. And he told me that the trick was to write the way I spoke. That way, the result can reflect reality. I thanked him profusely for his advice. He signed my book, and I felt inspired. (more…)

by Veronica Louis

Image: Veronica Louis

This week I turned 30. Three whole decades old! Holy smokes! 10 years, plus another 10 years, and adding another 10 years for good measure… Perfect recipe for age gain (because there is no such thing as age loss).

What is the difference between being 30 and 20? Besides the obvious mathematical answer, for me there now is a real sense that time is beginning to run out. It’s as if I am an hourglass, and at first there was a lot of sand in the top bulb and I was all like “Tra-la-la-la-la, I have all the time in the world.” But then what happened was that I suddenly noticed that the top bulb was no longer full of sand, and that my narrow opening seemed wider allowing the sand to flee at an increasingly alarming rate. (more…)

Photo: Veronica Louis

Photo: Veronica Louis

by Veronica Louis

9,999 hours to go!

I was first introduced to the notion of 10,000 hours in Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ album: The Heist. In their song Ten Thousand Hours (clip below), Macklemore raps: “I observed Escher, I loved Basquiat, I watched Keith Haring, you see I studied art. The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they painted a lot.”

And voila! You have it. 10,000 hours is the theory that it takes that many hours to become successful or an expert in a field. The 10,000-hour rule was made popular in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers. In the book, through many examples he demonstrates how with time and practice experts are made not born. One of Gladwell’s more famous examples is The Beatles, and the considerable amount of time the band played together. In 1960 they were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany and there they had to play eight hours a day, seven days a week. By the end of their Germany stint, like Lennon described, they couldn’t help but get better and become more confident with the experience of playing all night long. The Beatles lyrics’ “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog,” are a very fitting way to describe how much they worked to become The Beatles as we know them today. (more…)

Writers by Definition Write

December 26th, 2012 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Writing - (0 Comments)

by Veronica Louis


Photo: Veronica Louis

In an interview in Writer’s Digest, author R.L. Stine said: “People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

I think Stine says it all. Writers by definition write. And it’s better not to focus on the how of becoming a writer, and instead, like Stine suggests, focusing on the doing. Writers write, lawyers practice law and actors act. Mind you, there is no rule that states that you must be exceptional at law to practice law or be outstanding at acting to act, and the same logic applies to writing. Yet, like any other profession, the more you practice, the more prolific you become. (more…)