How to Become A Writer: LET SOMEONE LOVE YOU

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Kyle Thompson

I keep being asked how and why did I drop my career and became a writer. Did I know how to write? Did I know how to write A NOVEL? English is not even my first language, wouldn't I be better off writing in Russian? Did I study writing? Did I do this before? Etc, etc, etc. The answer is very simple - NO. I didn't study anything and I didn't plan this. It happened by accident, and it happened because for the first time in my life, instead of fighting and rejecting and hiding and denying, I finally let someone in (after being burned at 18 and vowing to never ever do it again) and LET SOMEONE LOVE ME. Now, what's this got to do with becoming a writer, you might ask? Everything. Let me demonstrate:

Only when feeling safe can you spill your true pain. Yeah, yeah, I know, some people use alcohol or drugs or other means, like blood letting or gut twisting with a kitchen knife. Um... Anyway, let's not get distracted. What I mean is, you can beat creativity out of yourself with a stick, and it works, sure, that's one way. But it's a very painful way and results in being locked up in a crazy house or suicide or overdose, or just old age bitterness. There is an easier way, and it's also painful, but in a cleansing kind of way, like therapy. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, suddenly it's ok to open old wounds and bleed them out, wash them, clean them, dress them and move on, a hundred pounds of misery lighter. And true writing comes from expressing true emotions. We all know when it's fake. It takes courage to write the truth, and it's a pendulum of extreme pain on one end and extreme happiness on the other. Neither is possible without love.

If nobody can shield you, the naysayers will eat you alive. You know what I'm talking about. It's all those distant family members who raise their eyebrows when you tell them you're writing a book. All those friends who try to talk you out of it and go find a real job. All those strangers you meet at a party who tell you they are lawyers, doctors, accountants, and then spill their drink when you tell them you're a writer and proceed asking what you really do for money, because writing is, of course, just a hobby, right? We writers are gentle creatures, like all artists. It takes but one poisonous word for us to believe we suck, and SUCK ROYALLY. One word to give up. One word to even want to kill yourself. If on top of it you have nobody to turn to for support, well, you might give up or might never even start. Reason good enough? It is for me. Every single day I doubt myself, and every single day my boyfriend tells me, you can do it, YOU CAN DO IT. If not for him, I would've never started.

A writer without a reader is nothing. And who do you think will be your fan number 1, always? Yes, someone who loves you. That someone will let you bloom like a flower and want you to write every day, because that someone will be your first reader and without readers, you're, well, nothing. Who will agree to read your first draft that is absolutely AWFUL and tell you not just the things to fix, but also all the good amazing things about it? Someone who loves you. Who will look through typos and bad grammar and story inconsistencies and feel what it is you're trying to say? Someone who loves you. Who will endure your daily disappearances into the la-la-land of your book and glazed eyes raised upon any question? Someone who loves you. Who will bring you coffee and food and quietly leave it at your desk while you don't even have the strength to turn your head and say THANK YOU? Someone who loves you. And who will listen to you babble about your story day in and day out without getting tired, for months and months and months? Your number one fan, your number one reader, SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU.

Forget studying, feel strong emotions every day instead. We all love this, including me. We all thrive on reading books about writing, watching inspirational TED talks, going to supportive writer's groups or meetings or forming our own encouraging get-togethers. Guess what, you don't need any of this if you have a stream of strong emotions in life every single day. There is so much material that you will barely have time to type it up. People keep asking me, where do you get your ideas? From my love. Seriously, I don't go places to get inpiration, I have it all right here, and so much of it that sometimes I feel like bursting. All from what? All from letting someone love me. Simple as that.

Of course, this is only one way. Of course, you can study writing, and it was always my dream. Of course, you can have a mentor who is a writer or you could've met a famous writer when you were a kid and that was your inspiration. But this worked for me and it was so profound, that I couldn't not to share. What was your path on becoming a writer? Please, share in comments - I'd love to hear your stories. 

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The key ingredient to writing honestly

by Ksenia Anske

I'm starting a series of blog posts by guest authors. Please welcome Rachel Thompson, author of The Mancode: Exposed and A Walk in the Snark.


I’m in flux, swimming upstream while the water pulls me down.

Fighting the emptiness, searching for one blessed respite in this barrage of ragged emotion.

I feel in my heart, our future lies in wait.

I give myself permission to be free.

Sometimes people aren’t sure about what to write.

But I don’t know if that’s really true.

They may know what they want to write about, feel a story building in their head, but many times close themselves off to the idea for fear of hurting others. They haven’t let go of those invisible barriers that prevents them from really digging in or letting go.

Such is the life of a writer.

People often tell me they enjoy my writing because I write about topics most people shy away from: love, desire, grief, loss, and abuse being just a few.

I write both fiction and nonfiction (and have published both), but my heart lies with nonfiction. Why? I suppose it started from my love of journaling when I was younger, and blogging as I grew older. Plus, the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction…

In my new book, Broken Pieces (out this fall), I discuss a number of uncomfortable subjects. Why? Well, not because I want you to care about my navel lint. It’s because I care about you; because other men and women may have experienced what I have but are afraid or ashamed; because it’s what I do.

I’m obsessed with stories about people, particularly relationships. That dynamic is always present across all books I write.

Amongst the humorous stories in my first book, I also share the shock and grief I felt when an ex I truly loved deeply in my twenties, committed suicide in A Walk In The Snark. While A Mancode: Exposed is all humor, I do share questions and observations about marriage. And in my new book, I discuss being molested as a ten-year-old girl by a neighbor (for the queasy, I don’t go into an insane amount of detail; though, I don’t gloss over it, either), along with other difficult experiences.

(Broken Pieces is not humor, if you’re wondering.)

One of my favorite writing quotes comes from author Lorrie Moore, who says:

Write something you’d never show your mother or father.

I love that quote, and it’s my mantra.

Drawing on my stories is not difficult for me because I’m comfortable delving into my heart. Writing about universal topics or ‘truths’ helps me tap into emotions we all feel. Sometimes people love it; sometimes they hate it. Making people uncomfortable is a wonderful way to create emotion in your reader.

Positive or negative emotions that you create in a reader is a win. As someone who has been there, my advice to any writer afraid to share their work is this: someone will invariably hate what you write. Oh well. Get over it.

I don’t write with the reader in mind. If I did, I wouldn’t be allowing myself to touch or explore plaintive feelings I want the reader to feel. Oftentimes, I simply close my eyes and type through the emotions. I love the spontaneity of what comes from deep inside.

If your goal is to write with honesty, do this: write about any topic you want. You are an adult. It’s your decision.

The only permission you need to write about anything comes from you.

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