As a boy, I was a Superman fan. The Incredible Hulk was a later Superhero whom I cared little about. So as I was thinking today about my role as a writer, I first envisioned myself as mild-mannered Clark Kent. But as I take my seat at my keyboard, I see myself morphing into Superman, my cape flaring behind me as I’m prepared to dodge bullets, stop locomotives, and “fight a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.” No phone booth necessary.
But then I began to realize that the Incredible Hulk is a more apt Superhero for writers. Under stress, Dr. David Banner slowly morphs into the green hulk of a man prepared to right the wrong situation at hand.
Of course, as writers, it’s not stress (usually) that transforms us, it’s the creative urge striking once again. Often at the worst time and in the worst places. Honestly, I get some of my best ideas in the shower, while driving, or while drifting off to sleep. None of which are conducive to writing the Great American Book.
Why do I bring this analogy up? Because I believe as writers we must assume an Incredible Hulk persona when we write. Or Superman, if you will. (Or Supergirl, Wonder Woman…whatever). That is, we must become Superheroes and boldly take over the situation on the page in front of us. We must, with great authority (strength), right the wrongs in the world as we write. Whatever we’re writing, fiction or non-fiction, must reek with authority, credibility, and power. We cannot be namby-pamby Clark Kents when we write. If we don’t own the page, own the story, own the characters, the reader will know and be bored. Passive books don’t sell. And on our best writing days, when we do take our seat and start punching the keys, we very often do begin to turn green and see our muscular Hulkish self emerge in all its glory. We write with power and save the day!
Next time you sit down to work on your manuscript, make sure you’re the Incredible Hulk, not Dr. David Banner; Superman and not Clark Kent. And consider procrastination is your Kryptonite.