Some truths about writing
Published: May 27, 2005
|Recently I was asked what my job has taught me about writers and writing. At first the question seemed impossible to answer, because every day I learn something from the writers I encounter. But when I thought about it more, I realized that certain themes emerge again and again. Here are a few:|
- All writers, no matter what their level of achievement, have to work through writing problems. The difference between a new writer and a veteran author is that the experienced writer is confident she will work through the problem and finish the book or story, because she's done it before. New writers need to have the same kind of faith in themselves.
- Writers need a sounding board-a trusted reader who will critique their work constructively and honestly. Just about every writer I've heard speak at conferences or readings acknowledged the help he or she received from a first reader, writing group or editor.
- There is no such thing as writer's block. We've asked hundreds of accomplished writers if they ever had writer's block, and invariably they say no. That doesn't mean they just keep writing effortlessly. Everyone stumbles now and then. If a writer gets stuck, he may need to do more research to fill in the gaps, or he may need to reread what he has already written to determine how he got into the jam in the first place; then, revise.
- Writers need to take a break from writing. Walking is good for your health and your writing. It clears your head and allows your brain to work subconsciously on your story. Cleaning the house or going to a movie can do the same thing, as long as you don't neglect to get back to writing.
- Successful writers don't talk about when they will write, they just write.
- Writers never stop learning. They are always looking for ways to improve their poetry or prose.
In every issue of The Writer, we learn something new about writing. We hope you will, too.
--Posted May 27, 2005