In Which I Give Away a Secret For Free

Has Jenny found it at last?

No, actually, I found it years ago.  

Learning how to write, honing one's craft, is going to look different for everyone.  There are numerous - numerous - different ways to go about it.  But I think this one secret is kind of the cornerstone for really good, successful writing.

Story time.  Years ago I had the opportunity to meet one of my husband's much-younger cousins.  (Second cousin, actually.)  He was a nice little boy - nicest little boy I've met; to be honest, little boys are kind of horrific, and this one was super polite and had great manners and I was kind of shy of him because he was so nice, even though he was, like, half my age.  But he liked writing, so his mother was eager to introduce us (oh no), and then she asked me the dreaded question.
did i have any advice for him?
Yeah...  For a second I just stood there like an idiot, my brain a reeling void.  Writing?  Words?  What are those?  I do that thing?  Since when.  Then - glory be - a single thought shot to the surface and I found myself saying,
"Just enjoy it.  Whatever you do, just enjoy it.  That's how you become good at it."
His mother was (thankfully) impressed and told her son that was great advice.  I'm over there in a flood of relief and I just wanted to get down on my knees like a drama-queen soccer player and go "YUSS."  I didn't do that.  But I was thinking that.  So this is my life advice for you, my one-stop, foundation advice.  ENJOY IT.  If you enjoy it, regardless of whatever genre you write in, you will be successful.  You will pursue excellence.  You will push yourself to become better.  The nit and the grit and the worry and the stress needn't reach you.  Just love it.  I remember being a young writer.  My writing was terrible, duh, but I loved writing, and that blind passion sailed me through to where I am today.  

Looking at that boy, probably twice as shy of me as I was of him, I didn't want him to be squelched by the pressure of writing to become published and squeezing himself into the mold of successful adulthood that everyone is trying to crush us into.  I wanted him to just love the craft.  I wanted him to go blindly forward into the exercise with the light of passion guiding him.  I wanted him to be a little boy writing stories he loved.  If he wanted to, that was how he would become great at it.
and now that i've told you my secret, i guess i should stop blogging. oops.

6 ripostes:

  1. I loved this story! And the advice! That advice is good.

  2. Ashely - YAY, I'm glad it was helpful! Never fear; even if all else fails, one can always be used as a BAD example. Thankfully, this was a good one. XD

  3. This advice is golden! Strangely, it can be easy to forget. Or at least it can be for me... Sometimes I get caught up in goals and outlines and word counts, and my writing time becomes all about numbers and lists. That's when I start to dry up. But when you approach writing as something to love and enjoy and revel in, everything else begins to fall into place. :) Thanks for the timely reminder!

  4. Tracey-Hey, yeah, that's what I'm here for! The dubious voice of reason in a pell-mell of lists and numbers and wordcounts and deadlines. Because I abhor them all. XD

  5. AMEN TO THIS! Sometimes I panic about my books not selling, not being publishable because they don't fit into this or that mould. But passion will carry you through, I'm certain of it. I'm going to make it carry me through.

    Great post! (I came here from [insert title here] and I'm glad I did.)

    1. Sure thing! I'm not saying that passion will necessarily make you FAMOUS, but it will improve your craft because you'll be willing to put in the effort, and you won't settle for less. :)