The “War” in WarriorWriter, by Jeff Posey
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The word “warrior” put me off.
I’m no warrior. I’m a leftover hippie, a flower child, a peacenik. Even war movies don’t appeal to me, unless Jimmy Stewart’s in it (hey, he’s my favorite).
So studying writing under an author who uses metaphors and lessons from his military experience stretched me out of my comfort zone. Which, ultimately, is why I signed up for Bob Mayer’s WarriorWriter weekend workshop (say that fast three times) last summer. I’m an out-of-my-comfort-zone junkie, as long as it involves words and not getting shot at or rendering an opinion about a woman’s new hairdo.
I’ve studied Sun Tzu’s The Art of War enough to appreciate the metaphorical value of warfare in business and personal relationships, and I figured the concepts of WarriorWriter would apply similarly to the practice of novel writing.
It does, and today I’m reporting my three favorite WarriorWriter metaphors.
#1: People who get into fights are afraid.
Bullies feel bullied. People who defend themselves are protecting something — often something painfully private. There are reasons behind even the most incomprehensible of acts.
The best warriors understand this and use it to their advantage.
The best writers understand it, too, and use it not only to build better characters and conflict for their stories, but to examine and improve their own defense-inducing defensive spots.
#2: The guy with the strongest sixth sense should be point man.
A man who trudges ahead like a freight train and never pauses to listen or take a break to stay fresh is not the guy you want leading you into battle.
You want the fellow who has something spooky about him, a mysterious ability to notice or see things that are invisible to most of us.
Writing is like that. If your creative voice isn’t leading the way, your risk of failure goes way up.
#3: Turn into the ambush and attack.
Why in the world would anybody do that? Hell, I’d turn and run like Usain Bolt.
Here’s why: Because the ambushers want to kneejerk you into booby traps or landmines or snipers waiting with perfect lines of fire.
What ambushes a writer? How about writer’s block? It intimidates you right into a black corner where your brain is as blank of words as your writing is devoid of warrior. Turn into it. Attack it. Hack it to pieces. Never let it deny you of words to write. Never.
Being a warrior isn’t necessarily about war. It’s about knowing what will or is attacking us (sabotaging us, undermining us, making us weaker), and ensuring that we’re able to overcome it at the right time and in the best way. Sooner or later, metaphorically or not, we’ve all got to turn into the attack or suffer the consequences.
Happy Warrior Writing.
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Jeff Posey writes historical and contemporary fiction informed by archaeological findings of the Anasazi culture of the Southwestern U.S. a thousand years ago. He blogs as Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey, and enjoys his Twitter buddies as AnasaziStories.