advice from Mr Fun

First, a link of note: my colleague the incomparable Dr Richards has just posted a thoroughly challenging piece about writing and retelling fairy tales, at Unsettling Wonder. It’s called ‘Gilt, Alloy, Catalysis’; you can read it here, and if you have any interest in writing or fairy tales and fantasy, and how these things can be understood, then you probably should.

Second, if you like art and good-humour and animation, and especially if you like Disney lore, you’ll want to check out the works of Floyd Norman. He’s an animator, cartoonist, Disney historian and all around nice guy, it seems. Seriously, what could be more fun than Mr Fun’s Blog? It’s always a treat, whether he’s giving anecdotes about cartooning and the ‘Old Maestro’, or discussing depictions of race in Disney films, or—like today—dispensing startlingly pertinent writing advice.

Yeah, I know—writing advice on the internet? No one’s ever done that before. But it’s because there’s so much of it that’s so bad, it’s a treasure to find someone actually giving good advice. Since I guess this’ll  be of interest to you, here’s what Mr Fun had to say about writing today, taken from the link above. Pay particular attention to the closing line:

My story as an author began back in High School English Literature. Eager but intimidated, I looked forward to learning a little bit about writing in my junior year. However, my English instructors thought I was in over my head and thought a “lower level English class” was more my speed. I was hardly delighted with this decision but took it in stride. When it came to the task of writing I decided I would learn on my own. Since that time I’ve come to believe most writing classes are bunk. You learn to write by writing, and no class can ever make up for that. You simply have to do it each day. There are no shortcuts or magical inspiration that will make the words appear on the page. Like most difficult things in life you simply have
to do it.

Getting booted out of High School English Literature was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I never lost my love for books and like most students I read most of the classics. I continued to have only the greatest respect for writers and was lucky enough to meet a number of favorites during my career. Guys such
as Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Douglas Adams provided a fair share of encouragement. While I knew I would probably never do work on their level,
I continued to learn the craft just in case I would one day have to put words
on paper.

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