The Study of Our Craft

It's amazing, now looking back, that I completed my first novel without ever stepping foot into an upper-level English or Creative Writing class. After two years of reading, writing, and learning English and literature, I feel a whole new appreciation for the study of my craft.

I received as Associates in Science in 2006, and that was no big deal to me. After all, I had only completed my basic classes. I wanted more. My desire to finish college, despite my lack of financing, stayed with me until in 2010 I went back with the blessing of some long, lost VA financing. It's a God thing. I am still studying English with a minor in History (to help me understand the context of literature), and now I realize how much I needed the education to further my writing.

Let's be honest, reading always helps us write better. We learn from the best, presumably, the published (this I say lightly because I realize that there are many talented people who have not been discovered yet). We learn structure, plot, character analysis, and other general writing techniques from reading, often without even realizing it. As people, we generally tend to search out and mimic patterns; I suppose that's how I wrote my first novel without any formal training. There is nothing wrong with this tactic because some people are just brilliant, talented. Not saying that I fall into that category but some do. With that being said, there is nothing but good that can come from studying your craft, whether that be on your own or formally. The training is meant to enhance the talent/gift/drive that is already resting in your hearts.

I started my second novel, Realm of Desire, immediately after I finished my first. I'm still working on it in between school assignments, and I have to tell you that it sounds like a different writer is writing the later stuff all because of everything I've been learning. We evolve.

I encourage you, as a serious writer, to search out helpful books, workshops, and techniques from other writers. We need to learn from each other. Also, read about publishers and follow agents' blogs. They are very helpful.

I agree with Sir Philip Sidney when he said in his "An Apology for Poetry" :

Orator fit, Poeta nascitur
[The orator is made, the poet is born.]

We were born writers, but we are not born at our fullest potential. While perfection is impossible, the pursuit of it is necessary to become the best we can be. Horace had it right when he said in Art of Poetry:

Mediocribus esse poetis,
Non Dii, non homines, nor concessere Columnae
[Mediocre poets are not endured by gods, men, or booksellers]

Cheers to the aspiration and conquering of becoming great writers.

Happy writing!

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Jess@The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow said...

Great post! I agree with you that the more we learn about our craft the better we will write! Good for you for going back to get your degree. It sounds like you have learned a lot. I am amazed every time I leave a writing conference at how much I have learned. Best of luck and thanks for the inspirational words!

Emily D. Wood said...

I cannot agree more! I looked back on some of my earlier poetry and discovered a pretty big difference. I have grown so much as a person and writer that it does seem like a different person writing. Thanks for the great motivation!

Bibliomania said...

I *love* your blog! I think it's very important to understand how we grow and evolve as writers. Many of us follow a somewhat circuitous route but that's what makes our writing substantial.

I am following you and look forward to seeing more!


Elizabeth said...

LOVELY BLOG....stopping by from Book Blogs to take a look around.



Vanessa K. Eccles said...

Thanks for the great comments, ladies! I also appreciate the new followers! YaY! Also, I'm following all of your blogs too. Cheers and happy writing, friends! :)

Donna Yates said...

I love Horace's quote. It is so true that we must develop our potential.