The other day I realized that I’ve been writing for over 30 years. And I have been studying the art of writing for over 25 of them. And now that I am at a place where I am a professional writer (I’ve fulfilled publishing contracts for 16 different projects and am currently working on more) I’ve come to the very dangerous conclusion that, “By goodness, I gotta kinda know some stuff by now, don’t I?”
Well, despite scores of written work that might prove evidence to the contrary, I’ve decided that a cool little project for me would be to kind of riff for the next few months on, well, writing.
See, my own writing education was piecemeal. Mostly, it was self-directed even though I majored in English in college and took a boatload of Creative Writing classes, as well. I’ve read scores of books on writing and yet, I still read new ones all the time. Why? Cause even if I can just find one nugget in a $17.95 book that illuminates something about the craft for me in a way which can benefit my work, I consider that a steal. (Often, however, I gotta admit, there are a lot of charlatans out there selling “How to Be a Writer” books which pretty much shock me in their lack of quality.)
But one universal thing I believe all writers encounter once they become published is that we are asked by folks, well, “How do I become an author?”
I figure I should frame some kind of answer to that. Will it be “the” answer? No way. Will it be a good answer? I certainly hope. But I do think there is something there, a quilt to be fashioned from all the patches I’ve absorbed over all the years I’ve been busting my own butt to learn how to do this.
Now, is everything teachable? Nah. Some cellists just know how to hit notes that others do not. (And I have to admit, when I see some of my favorite writers hit them and I realize that these notes are not in my own author bank, I get envious; but be who you are is also a really good lesson I’ve learned. Dystopian, futuristic fantasy, that’s not me. Character driven YA… much more in my wheelhouse.)
Yet, are there certain aspects which are teachable? Most definitely so. In fact, I don’t think one can ever discover they really have no talent for writing until they’ve been writing at the peak of their aptitudes for quite some time – and by that time, it’s usually too late to do something else anyway because most probably you will have already published a book (or 16 of them *wink-wink*).
So stay tuned, check back in, and feel free to take what’s worthwhile and junk the rest.
Riffing on Writing… methinks the time has come to set sail with this idea. Stay tuned.