3 Things I Learned from Other Writers
It’s about that time where I pass on some knowledge, things I’ve learned during my years of writing. Sure, the obvious “how to” stuff is rampant. To try to catalog, let alone narrow it down to only three, would be near impossible and dreadfully lacking. Instead I’m going to share some important observations I’ve made from associating with other writers.
1. Not all talented writers write. I’ve taken my fair share of creative writing classes and participated in critique groups. The one thing that shocked me the most was when I came across a person who wrote beautifully, I’m talking make-me-forget-I’m-reading-and-take-me-to-another-time/place kind of beautiful, and found they never did anything with it. There are people out there that don’t pursue their gift out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of trying new things, whatever. Some of those people write for themselves or people they trust. Then there are those that just stop writing. That baffled me. Why would anyone who could move others with the written word want to stop doing it? It blew my mind.
The lesson I learned there: If I ever get to the point where people are moved by my words, I will not (never-ever-ever) give up. I guess I feel like it’s a gift that is meant to be shared. It holds no value unless it can be enjoyed with others.
2. Non-talented writers will always write. It saddens me to follow-up the last point with this one, but it’s true. There are a lot of bad writers out there. Some of them even go on to be published authors. Yes, there’s a lot of junk on the self-published virtual bookshelf, but traditional publishing isn’t devoid of it. I will give these bad writers this: they have persistence. I just wish they had an editor.
I won’t bag on them too hard. Most writers have to get through a ton of bad writing before their stuff is worth reading. It’s just that the better ones have a mind not to share until they’re ready. And when are you ready? Find out by getting your stuff critiqued. You can do that in a writing class, a critique group, and a number of online places. Get it into someone’s hands that won’t blow smoke up your butt. Good parents and spouses are NOT good critiquers. They should be there for you emotionally for when you get done with a REAL critique. A critique by people who care about a good story and not whether you’re going to cry after hearing an honest opinion.
The lesson I learned there: There is a sea of bad writers out there. You are one of them until you actively do something about it.
3. “Life happens”. This is the number one excuse I hear when a writer stops writing. I’m not exempt from this. This, that or the other happened that prevents the would-be writer from pursuing his or her goal. Life shows a little resistance, and the writerling curls up in the fetal position and refuses to unfurl until life deals a more ideal hand. I’ve heard it come from my own mouth and know, without a doubt, that it’s a load of horse shit. It’s the excuse we give ourselves when we just don’t want to do it, and want to feel okay about it. Like it’s not us choosing our own fates. If something’s more important than writing to you, then just come out and say it.
I have a family that I love. More so, I like them too. I want to spend time with them. They mean the world to me. They will trump my writing time most days, and I chose that. I made it a high priority. I know people who did not make they’re family a priority. Some still have them, some don’t. I’m not judging here. Priorities are different for everybody. Just own up to your own.
The lesson I learned: There are no excuses in whether or not you pursue your writing career. Know what you want and be happy with what you choose.