"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Saturday, July 27, 2013

4 Craft Lessons for Writers

There are so many rules, tips, and exercises being touted as ways or shortcuts to becoming a great writer.  However, if you want to be a good writer, no matter what stage you are at now or genre you prefer, there are only four things you need to do.

1.      Read - a lot. And read a variety. If you read good work, good works will come out of you. It’s not easy, but if you want to learn something, the quickest way is to go directly to the source.

2.      Listen – to what you are reading, to what you are researching, and the people and places you visit. Let the patterns, rhythms, forms, and even their uniqueness imprint themselves upon you.

3.      Write - a lot. Practice makes perfect. Not everything you write will be read, or liked, by others. So, always write for yourself first. When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek The Next Generation fans gave him a lot of grief about Wil Wheaton’s character Wesley Crusher. They shouted about a child having no place on board a starship. Roddenberry rebuked them saying, “You are all under the impression I write for you, but I write for me and I like the character…”

4.      Don’t think too much – be patient, don’t worry, keep going, and stop comparing yourself to others. You have no idea what others went through before they found the “success” you envy so much. There will always be someone “better” or “more successful” than you. You can’t control what editors are looking for, or at what point in history an idea will appeal to the masses, but you can control what you create – so enjoy your craft.

In short, immerse yourself in the real world as well as the written as often as possible. And keep your own pen (or keyboard) moving.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. I so needed this today. :)

rosaria williams said...

Right on the money!

D.G. Hudson said...

These are the things we should tell ourselves every day, Sylvia.

I read and review a combo of literary, scifi, mystery, books about Paris fiction and non-fiction, and books I receive as ebooks (only certain genres-most selfpub).

Keep writing is the best advice, and keep learning follows it. Thanks for affirming the right goals.

Sarah Chafin said...

Thank you for this sound advice. Its easy to get overwhelmed by all of the info out there.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a refreshing distilling of the multitudinous writer advice out there! These 4 guidelines are enough to keep a writer on track. Thanks.

Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog and commenting and following. Have a great day.

Rhondi St. Onge Peacock said...

Two thumbs up Sylvia. Thank you!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Great tips. Short, Simple and to the point. Thanks!

Jonathan Harp said...

LOVE these! Thanks again, Sylvia. You're always a great inspiration.