Saturday, September 15, 2012

What I do best in writing: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour #15


There are so many ways to look at this kind of question. Yes, there are the basics: I always need to rework description and I overuse some words, but I do my best to edit those out. I'm good at dialogue, though. I'm fairly good at humor.

All of that means nothing because there is something far more important that I really am good at:

Finishing the work.

I don't care if you write the perfect paragraph; it means nothing in an unfinished work. Oh yes, good for practice, but until you stop practicing and get on with the story, you aren't going to be a writer. I used to believe 'Writers Write' and didn't need any other qualifications. However, after more than a decade working with writers, I have come to realize this needs an added stipulation. Now I believe 'Writers Write and Finish Things.'

Not everything. However, you shouldn't claim you are a writer if you just play around, latch on to the angst: Oh, it's just not good enough! How could I ever write such crap? I'll never finish this! It isn't worthy! Until you focus on the writing, and not your personal emotions, you will never do better.

They're just words: You can write them, rewrite them, change, delete and start over. However, if you don't finish your work and move on to something else, you're just playing games.

There is a point where someone goes from just writing words to being a writer. You don't often start out that way. There's a varying time of experimentation as you find your way, but eventually you have to write the stories.

Publication? Does that make a writer?

No. If it did then people like Emily Dickinson were only writers after they died. Difficult to deal with that kind of logic, isn't it? So what if you don't want to publish? Then why bother finishing?

If that's your feeling towards your work, then by all means just write snippets and move on. If you aren't interested in finishing the story for yourself, you certainly shouldn't bother for anyone else. You have to tell stories that entertain others who enjoy the things you like to write. If you aren't writing what you enjoy reading, then don't bother to finish.

But you aren't a writer.

I finish things. I write, rewrite, edit and sometimes let pieces sit for a long time until I realize my ability has improved and I can make a significant change in the story by reworking it again.

I constantly work at improving my craft, but the craft doesn't mean simply better wording. Stories are plots, characters and events and you have to learn how to put those together and make something interesting. A nice line, a lovely paragraph or the perfect words will not make a story, and you cannot learn to write stories until you write entire ones. Beginning, middle and ending: All of it tied together, all of it making sense and interesting. That makes a writer. This applies to short stories, novels and poetry (and probably other things I can't think of right now).

The stories of mine which were published a decade ago (by various publishing companies) would be better written today. However, if I hadn't made those first steps, I wouldn't be where I am today -- which is moving in a direction where writing is becoming an increasingly large part of my income. Nowhere near the 'give up your day job' state, but making more each month.

I am writing what I love and I have found readers who enjoy the stories. If you want to reach the same situation, push through to the end of your work. Make it the best you can through edits and rewrites. Then give it wings to fly and reach and audience.

And move on to the next.

Focus on the story and leave all the other baggage behind. Make the words the best they can be and write the story you want to write. Don't be afraid to write, edit, and rework the material.

You can be a writer. And there is nothing quite like reaching The End.
If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer

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