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.