He doesn’t really know how to work a keyboard; he probably read Shakespeare when he was in college (and alive), but he can’t remember any of the lines in King Lear. Ask him to tell you a story, and you’ll get the one about the “braaaaains.” The ending kind of sucks to be honest.
Yet this hungry, shambling corpse has a few things to teach aspiring writers if they’re willing to look past his rotting exterior and keep their minds open.
Well, not TOO open.
Zombies just don’t give up. Even if a band of humans have holed themselves up in a church with shotguns and torches, zombies will keep clawing at every door and breaking through every window.
They don’t stop to wonder if they should turn back and find something easier to eat like a bunny; nor do they question whether they’re really any good at this whole “undead/infected” thing. Zombies will keep trying to kill until they (re)die or they’re feasting on sweet survivor rump.
Living writers should be ashamed when they give up! You’ve most likely been reading books since you were a kid, and you’ve dreamed of crafting a story that everyone can enjoy. Zombies don’t even have that kind of a history; as soon as they’re bitten, they devote themselves to the task of biting others.
You as a writer have a far stronger desire to write than a zombie does to eat brains. Don’t give up! Make it a matter of life or death that you write that novel; make the novel the most important thing in the world to you, and shamble your way towards it even if doubt and writer’s block try to snipe you in the head.
Some zombies shamble methodically.
Others run like a rat on fire.
Very few do both.
Zombies have learned that they can go at their own pace and still get at your delicious insides. They don’t try to run when they’d rather walk, and they don’t force themselves to walk when they really want to swarm you and your family.
Writers, take note: you can write at your own pace.
Some writers prefer to write nonstop without editing their work until they have a working first draft.
Others like to take it slow, editing scene by scene for maximum impact before moving on to the next chapter.
Either way is fine as long as it’s the way you want to write. Never try to force yourself to match the advice/tempo of a creative writing book (plenty say to just write and write and write without editing). No one knows you better than you know yourself; do your own thing and trust in your ability to get things done quickly or slowly.
Infect Them All
Zombies would make the best social media experts. Before Facebook and Twitter, they were networking like crazy! With a nibble here and an arm rip there, they spread their values, beliefs, and habits to as many other people as possible. Statuses were updated frequently, and it was clear that they all “liked” brains.
Writers now have a lot more power to share, market, and publish their own ideas and works than they did even 15 years ago. Make good use of blogging and social media sites to spread your thoughts and works-in-progress to other bloggers, to get inspiration and advice from other writers, and to build a network that you can rely on once you’ve published your first book.
It’s a brave new world out there that’s open to us writers; we have to take advantage of every method of spreading the message. At least until they invent a way to pass on ideas just by biting someone.
So what else do you think zombies can teach us about writing or even life in general?