Mind = Blown

What a lecture that was by John U. Bacon!  As an audience member, I found myself relating to his stories, his struggles as a writer, and his passion for watching and participating in athletics.  He seemed like he would be an awesome professor to have and someone I could learn a lot from.

What I thought was most interesting was the tips he gave for the writing process.  Not only did he say repeatedly that everyone’s first draft sucks, he also told us to write our first drafts from start to finish so that we may have something to work off of.  Though I have learned that I do my best writing when I’m in a silent environment, I did like how his suggestion for snapping out of “writer’s block” was to simply start writing…about anything; I’ll have to try that one out. 

I also thought I key idea was his emphasis on experience—how the best first-person writing comes from one’s personal account of their failures.  I had never considered that audiences are more likely to pay attention when you’re telling them about how much you messed up as opposed to how great you are.  Firsthand experience makes all the difference as does research on whatever you’re writing about; regardless of whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

Also, his laying out of what makes a good/persuasive story was fascinating to me.  He said that in order for an audience to not only acknowledge a problem, but also feel compelled to take action requires for a personal connection and a tie to a broader spectrum—the big picture.  His example of Boobie Miles’ story in the context of high school football in and around Odessa, Texas was a great illustration of how an author can frame a story in both a personal and meta light.

I came away from Bacon’s talk feeling inspired and motivated.  Though his description of life as a writer did not personally appeal to me as something I’d want to make a career out of, I greatly appreciated the perspective and the new ways of looking at writing that I’ve never had before.

3 thoughts to “Mind = Blown”

  1. Hi Joey,

    I concur with your perspective of how mind-blowing the Writing Seminar was. (And awesome Jackie Chan picture!) I’m glad that you also came out from the lecture very motivated to write and revise!

    I thought that his suggestions on giving a vertical and horizontal perspective in writing was really helpful. I never had a good image of writing with purpose, and this definitely stuck with me. I, like you, really liked his narration of the first-person writing experiences; I felt like I was experiencing them with him!

    I guess it begs the question: To be a good writer, do you also have to be a good storyteller? What do you think?


  2. In response to Diana’s question, I also thought about his storytelling abilities while he was talking. His lively talk made me believe that his writing must be really fascinating as well. I think his points about the vertical and horizontal perspectives are really important to writing. I know that I connect with an author when they are able to tell a story in that way. I even think that is the way he spoke, with a personal connection and a broader theme. I know that this is what I aspire to do in my writing sometimes, and I hope that it will become a more natural thing for myself.

    I also really enjoyed all the tips that he mentioned for writers. I personally have started to use his trick of just writing when I get writer’s block. It has really helped me at least get started even if the writing is really terrible.

  3. Joey

    I wasn’t able to attend John U Bacon’s How I Write presentation, but I am happy you brought up some of the things he emphasized in the presentation. I particularly liked the point that you brought up about experience. In one of my first drafts for the “Why I Write” I talked about this point as well. I want to be an author one day, but like I said in my essay, I don’t think I am ready to be an author yet. I don’t think I have experienced enough in my life yet to be a good author. Firsthand experience definitely bolsters any written work. In one of my previous posts on John Grisham, he says something similar to John U Bacon. He says experience is essential to being a good writer too. I guess it is universally known that the more experienced you are, the better writer you can be.

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