Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Ever Rising Plateau of Skill

If you’re an aspiring writer/author, then there will never be a time when you will stop improving your craft. How can that be? Shouldn’t be a limit, like the sky?

The short answer is: yes, there is a limit. But, only for those who cannot see above what they have written. That doesn’t that if you get published and look back on your work and are disgusted by it that it’s bad. Though that could certainly be the case, usually you’re already a fantastic writer. This just means that you can do even better than before. And you should.

So, when does this magically uplifting moment occur? When does Nirvana enter and you come to peace with your work, stop treating it like an untouchable, perfect baby? This can happen in many different ways.

For me, it happens when I’ve simply written something new. My mind will be craving a new piece, and so it writes, and it’s better. Then I feel like I had just wasted a year of my life because I can spot so many flaws.

Then there are times when you read/review other’s works. If those pieces are written well, or your piece has a thorough review, you’ll start seeing it then. That’s usually what happens with me. Take those feelings to heart and let the pen flow once again. Remember that changing one line in that page will probably not change the flow of the story (in most cases), and therefore all you’re really doing is improving that scene. Improvement is what you’re trying to do, so why fight it? Trust me, you’ll be happier for it.

Back to reviewing and getting reviews. Join a writing group. Having that group atmosphere and work ethic is amazing. I’ve been part of such a group since January and I’m so glad that I joined. It’s the only official writing group on campus, we meet weekly, J-WOC. If you get the reference, then you’ll know where I go to school! And then you should join!

Being with others, regardless of if they write poetry, shorts, non-fiction, or epic novels, is a wonderful experience. You will not always get as great of feedback as you’d like, but trust me, it’s better than nothing. Opening up and letting others read your work is key, as well as learning how to critique others. Those skills of critiquing will help you when you sit looking at your manuscript at 3 am and think, “I can make this better.” It’s tough, but I have faith that you can do it.

-jheld out

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