I have been thinking a lot about the art and craft of writing. I have learned that one does not simply wish to be a writer: either you are, or you are not a writer. I am a writer, but I am new to the work. I would like to learn as much as I can about the craft of writing, but most importantly (I think), I must write. And write and write and write.
One of my favorite bloggers is Kristin Lamb, who writes a lot about the craft of writing. Today, she wrote a piece about pride affecting the writer to the point where they are no longer teachable. Proud young writers often ignore advice and expect themselves to coast on their own raw talent. Yet, most bestsellers still attend workshops, read, and practice and hone their craft as much as they can.
Reading Ms. Lamb’s blog today made me realize that I must read craft books and attend workshops; if not to improve my writing, then to at least prove that I am serious.
I believe in myself, and I believe that I am a writer, but I know that I have to do more than just punch the keyboard to make a bestseller. I have lots of ideas, and at this point in my writing, I am still married to these ideas. I have a mental map of where I want my novel to go. But, if Stephen King and other authors are to believed then I have to let all of that go. I already know that most of what I have written so far will be thrown away and rewritten in the editing process, so why don’t I just ignore my inner voice that wants me to write my novel a certain way?
Also, newness to the game. Without a doubt, I have a level of pride to work through, but I think that my main issue right now is being a rookie. I really do not know what I am doing, but thanks to the other writers, bloggers, and experienced authors who share their wisdom, I am learning.
I think I need to read craft books and attend workshops and seminars to get more ideas about how better to construct my novel. I also need a mentor before I search for a literary agent (unless I can get both in one person!).
I do read a lot of blogs and books, so I am doing that important step in the process, I am learning that there is so much more to this than I ever imagined. I pay close attention to advice that makes sense to me, but I am afflicted by that evil curse: pride.
What can I say? I am human, after all, and I have my flaws. Some of those flaws will serve me well in my writing. They will help to form characters—heroes, villains—, and they will help to create conflicts and resolutions. I think if I were perfect and knew everything there is to know then my novel would be boring.
After all, who wants perfection?