Monday, June 20, 2005

So Just Who Do I Think I Am?, Revisited

OK. Got a little extra time today, so I'll take another shot at this.

Should aspiring authors write articles about writing? What could they have to offer anybody else?

Yes, and lots.

While professional writers certainly have experience and skill to share that can be of great benefit to all writers, even amateurs can contribute to other writers' education. We all know, and keep reminding ourselves daily, that every writer is unique, with a style, voice, vision, and way of thinking different from every other writer in the world, past and present.

The act of writing is a giant puzzle. Think about those wooden 3-dimensional puzzles and imagine one that takes a lifetime to put together. That's what writing is. Each of us has our own perspective on the puzzle. We each can see how certain pieces fit, but not others. Frequently, all it takes for us to solve one tiny piece of the puzzle, a story, novel, or article, is for the right person to speak up and say "This is what it looks like from where I stand". Suddenly our piece clicks into place.

While professional writers can see more of the puzzle than I can, they are not gods.

CRACK! BOOOOOOM!

Ok, Ok! Ray Bradbury is a god! I bow before his divinity and acknowledge that he is, in fact, the best that ever was. Satisfied? A red chicken in the dark of the moon? Ok, I can handle that. May I please be allowed to continue, now? Thank you.

Whew! Where was I? Oh, yeah, writers are not...well, you get the picture.

Even rank amateurs have a valid perspective on the writing. Some of them may be deluded to a greater or lesser degree, but each has something to offer, however small. I always come away from reading articles in Vision or any other writing magazine with something I either didn't know or had not thought of before.

So, yes, any writer can write a useful article about the art or craft of putting words together into a meaningful mosaic showing the world and our place in it.

In addition, writing about writing has some really terrific benefits. Every time I have an idea for an article, it's something that I want to know more about. Writing about it gives me the chance to research and explore, to try something new and different, to stretch and grow. Continuing education is vital for a writer. If you're not learning, you're either stagnating or decaying. I don't know about you, but that does not interest me at all.

Another benefit is writing practice. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Any skill must be practiced, or it corrodes. Flexing those writing muscles keeps them in tone, and even adds to their strength and endurance. Writing practice is essential. Even if you are not working on your blockbuster novel, write something, anything. There are no wasted words, as long as you pay attention and keep improving your skill.

Ok, enough for today. I have to find a red chicken, somewhere. Ray is not a patient man...god. *cringe in anticipation of another lightning bolt*

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