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.
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,did i have any advice for him?
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."Just enjoy it. Whatever you do, just enjoy it. That's how you become good at it."
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.