Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Practice, Practice, Practice #MFRWauthor


Talent is a must for a writer but no matter how great a talent is, unless the writer shows they have learned the techniques needed to coax the reader into his or her world, the writing goes flat. We've all read books that make us want to scream. The story is great but the writing leaves us cold and more time is spent correcting the writer's mistakes than in reading the story.

Taking courses in writing fiction help but the biggest way to gain what's needed is to write every day at the same time. Sure it doesn't have to be daily but there has to be a routine, a time when your body knows this is the time to write that story. When rejections come, instead of blaming the editor or agent of not knowing a good story when they see it, the time has come to rewrite that story to see where you've gone wrong. If you're really lucky, instead of the cold "This isn't for us." Some editor will jot a note. "Your characters have no real motivation." Or some other note that gives you a clue. So you practice putting words on paper and discovering the characters' motivations.

I had a fairly early success in my writing and sold a number of short stories. Then the short story dried up. I had to learn how to write novels and that took practice. Then I stepped away from writing for about ten years while I helped put children through college. The time came when I could return to writing. Did all I'd learned before return immediately. Not a chance. I had to practice, practice, practice and re-learn all that had grown rusty from dis-use. Three years of practice gave me a sale.

The moral of this story is try to find time every day to write, even if it's only fifteen minutes and if you only produce a hundred words. In the end the practice will find you holding a book in your hand.

5 comments:

JoanCurtis said...

This is a great post. I think some writers believe they can just sit down at the computer and everything will happen. It just doesn't work that way. I have a doctorate and lots of education, but I had to LEARN how to write a novel. It's a very different animal than writing a dissertation.

Thank you for reminding us about practice. I love your posts and wish you'd join me on my blog with your insights.

Janet Walters said...

Thanks for visiting the blog. When I returned to writing after a stint as a nurse, my prose sounded like nurses' notes and I had to learn how to write complete sentences again. Fortunately with a lot of practice I have re-learned and am still learning.

E. Ayers said...

Great post. You don't want to know how many times I rewrote that first book. And I still write the story, then go back through it looking for things to add, subtract, or sentences that need to be moved around. Wish I could write it right the first time. But each pass makes it better stronger, fuller and weeds out the grammar and other mistakes.

Janet Walters said...

E. Ayers, I believe I remember Jane and I doing a bit on one of your stories many years ago.

E. Ayers said...


Yes, we meet in Virginia Beach. An editor told me I had a super fantastic story but I had to learn to properly write it. She also said that you were the perfect person to teach me. She introduced us. Between the two of you, and Judy McCoy, I managed to learn how to craft a story and not just tell it! You have no idea what an impact you had on my writing career. It was more than just a bit. :-) And all those rewrites were worth it.

Practice, practice, practice. It's not easy to do it right. It's had work. You sent me to online classes with authors you knew. And every time I learned something new, I went back through that book and fixed it.

I am so grateful for that editor who was so honest and open with me. And to all of those who helped me along the way. I've spent more than a year on the top 100 authors on Amazon. The longest consecutive period was seven months. I didn't get there by myself. I had some great teachers, starting with you!

If you come through this area again, I'd love to take you to dinner.