'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 13 February 2011

Guest Post: Writing and Bruce Lee - Finding Your Voice

KBR is thrilled to welcome the fabulous and fun Adam Wallace to our pages for a wonderful insight into finding your voice as a writer. Enjoy!

Yep, you read that right. Bruce Lee. I know. It seems like strange connection. But Bruce Lee was more than you may imagine. He was a teacher, a philosopher, and an author, along with being, of course, a fairly okay martial artist.

I’m a little bit obsessed with Bruce Lee (Andrea, my wife, thinks you could probably replace ‘a little bit’ with MASSIVELY).

I have found his philosophies, although based around martial arts, to be life-changing. He was a great believer in honestly expressing yourself, in being you, in being real, and not just being what society would like you to be.

This is huge for authors, who can continually be torn between whether they should write a certain book in a certain style in order to have more chance of being published, or whether they should write what is truly in their heart and what truly brings them great joy to put down on paper.

There is one particular thing Bruce Lee says that relates beautifully both to writing and life in general.

Here it is.

“You want to fight, you fight me.” … just kidding, although that is a great line. Seriously though, this is the idea that freed up my writing and made it a joy again...

“I don’t know what I will be writing but just simply writing whatever wants to be written. If the writing communicates and stirs something within someone, it’s beautiful. If not, well, it can’t be helped.”

It can’t be helped. Seriously. How good is that? Realising that not everyone is going to like what you write frees you up to write what comes out of you. It doesn’t mean you will only and forevermore write brilliantly, but I do believe that when you write this way - with freedom and joy - that it will come across in your writing and make it sparkle.

Again though, this doesn’t mean that everyone will like what you have written. I don’t like plenty of types of books (see depressing or romance), but that doesn’t lessen their worth.

Writing this way also doesn’t guarantee an instant, international bestseller (although that would be nice!). There have been hundreds, possibly thousands of books that were rejected because someone didn’t like them. Sure, some of these books disappear into book limbo, but many of them have gone on to be great successes. But not everyone likes them. It can’t be helped.

Harry Potter was rejected. Many times. Even after it was published it was banned from some schools. But it has inspired millions upon millions of children (and adults!) to read.

It’s beautiful.

Dr Seuss’ first book (And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street) was rejected by 27 publishers! When it was finally accepted, it sold around 7 million copies!

He simply wrote it, believed in it even though it was 'different', and it stirred something within millions of people (this didn’t stop Dr Seuss feeling like burning the manuscript when he couldn’t get it published though! Even the greats get frustrated!).

I still believe, when I read a Dr Seuss book, that there is something magical about his writing, but obviously those other 27 publishers didn’t think so. It can’t be helped.

So to sum up.

Write. Write write write write write write write.

Write with the joy of expressing yourself.

Don’t write with the fear of whether or not people will like it.

Write with freedom, and passion, and write what touches you! Because if it doesn’t touch you, then what’s the point?

Oh, and maybe check out a few Bruce Lee movies as well … they’re kinda cool.
Learn more about Adam at his website www.adam-wallace-books.com and look out for KBR's review of his book The Negatees, illustrated by Heath McKenzie, coming soon!