Monday, November 9, 2009

Writing Is More Caft Than Art


When I was studying art I was told the world's masterpieces didn't come about from brief flashes of inspiration when the artists sat around eating their breakfast. There was a lot of work and a lot of failures that went on before the great pieces of art came into being. It was the daily doing, the painting and sculpting, the hour after hour of constantly refining those efforts and frequently producing flops before the artists were able to create their works of genius.

Dolly Parton, a hugely successful songwriter, in a 2009 interview with CNN's Larry King Live, indicated that she had written "at least 3,000" songs, having written seriously since the age of seven. Parton went on to say that she writes something every day, be it a song or an idea. Not all of them are recording material but many of them have become huge successes.
[Larry King Live: March 7, 2009]

As a piano teacher I've seen students with less talent than others go farther because they did the hard work. Two of my students, who were very talented, went divergent ways because one did nothing with his talent, while the other practiced all the time. He has gone on to make a wonderful career in music.

Even though some may argue there is a measure of talent required, I believe anyone who wants to learn how to write can if they put forth the discipline and practice.

Heavy emphasis on practice. And I guess you can't slight the discipline.

Wait a minute....
This is getting kind of serious.
The bloggy me demands to be heard.

Back to mastering the craft of writing.

You have to write because you can only learn it by doing. You improve with every word. It's like running. The more you run the farther you can go.

I have a mantra I chant to myself while I do something hard, "Its not the the nature of the thing that gets easier, but our capacity that increases.”

Unlike running, where the body eventually tires and gives out, your mind will keep you in the writing game.


Study the craft of writing by doing it. You can read all the how-to books you can find, but you have to actually write to improve.

Write. Everyday.


Matt said...

Well put!

I used to do writing exercises quite a bit, and they really demonstrated this idea to me. I really don't think I ended up using much of what came out of the exercises, but they taught me to write as much as a could as often as I could. Now I try to write everyday and I find I don't need a writing prompt or exercise to get things moving!

Excellent advice.

Hannah said...

A very good post! I like it!

I also like your random bloggy picture--so kawaii! (cute)

ali said...

I totally, totally agree.

Thanks Deborah!

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm seeing this with Nano. It's been a long time since I wrote every day. Now that I am, I'm seeing how practice made me better and now I'm a bit rusty. I can see myself improving though and that helps.

Jaime Theler said...

I agree absolutely. Even with the bloggy picture. :) Great post.