there are zillions of pieces of advice out there on how to write, but the most logical ones boil down to two points.
(1) put your butt in the chair and write.
(2) in order to get better at writing, you have to WRITE.
sure, reading and living a full life are also keys to becoming a better writer (and a better human), but the practicality of practicing writing is too true to ignore, as @fakeeditor (#2) so helpfully explains.
I’m not saying that reading isn’t helpful. I’m saying that you learn to write by writing, and you learn to cook by cooking. #FE2
— FakeEditor (@FakeEditor) October 5, 2011
i thought i’d been doing that. i have one completed manuscript under my belt not to mention an MFA degree, and yet, i kept coming up with doubt about the state of my current (finished but unedited) WIP. i wondered why my writing wasn’t getting better. i thought taking some time away from it would help. i thought diving in and doing more research would help. i thought reading it over and over would help. i thought doing some character interviews would help.
in a fit of distraction, i started to peruse my old blog postings because i couldn’t remember when i had changed from diaryland.com to wordpress.com. that switch, from casual musings to carefully thought out postings, marked the beginning of my attempts to become a writer and i was curious what that actual date was. (7.21.09 for inquiring minds.) it took longer than i anticipated to find the beginning and i couldn’t help but read a bunch of the posts as i scrolled my way through. after reading through some highly embarrassing and super revealing and poorly crafted posts, i realized something.
i HAVE made progress. it’s just not the progress i was expecting.
the progress i’ve made has been in the form of emails and blogs because that’s what i’ve been doing daily for years now. sure, it may have been a thing necessitated through work or a premature attempt at building a brand, but it’s been the most consistent form of writing that i’ve been practicing and THAT’S why those types of words come more easily to me.
now hold up, i’m not saying when i open an email or fresh post, the right words march out and lay down in the proper formation, but it’s much easier to twist those words into the desired shape whereas the words in my novel look a bit more like this:
so the point of this was not to direct you to my most remedial writings, but as a note to myself to lighten up in the areas of my manuscripts because i’m still new to the game and my talent still needs time to be cultivated.
now, how to work on being more patient?
how do YOU work at getting better at what you do — whether it’s a hobby, a job, or a career?