I wish I was a better writer. Getting better at writing, really honing the craft, requires a lot more work than simply pounding out some blog posts. I’ve been doing that for years, but I don’t think there has been too much evolution. I once heard a coach say “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” It might sound a little cheesy, but it still rings true. It is true of casting (double hauling on the pond is different than waiting for a windy day and THEN going out on the pond) and writing (blog posts not counting as perfect practice) and probably a great deal beyond.
Growing as a writer requires feedback. It requires an editor, another set of eyes to look at what you’ve scratched down and ask questions, poke holes, or, more commonly, show you the holes you glossed over. You tend to find that sort of attentive eye in the context of education or in professional writing. I expect to find myself in neither situation in the near future.
The last real editing I experienced was while working on the first edition of Pulp Fly. Pulp Fly was my idea, although the name and form and organization came from others. My story for that effort benefited immensely from something like professional editing (thanks Pete) and I loved the experience. Someone taking what I’d written and really going through it critically, letting me know what they took from it and what I had failed to convey, it was a revelation.
After the first edition of Pulp Fly I was told I wasn’t part of the second project, that I wasn’t going to be part of the group. There was some paperwork I hadn’t signed (although I could have sworn I did) and it meant I was on the outside. It was a bit humiliating to be chucked out like that, but the worst part was losing the “thing” to write for and the opportunity to get a critical eye going over my work. I found without the “thing” to write for I just didn’t write, save for the blog. While the blog is writing, it is seldom story telling. I’m usually the character and the story is simply what happened. Every once in a while I’ll write something that I feel really good about, but those posts get buried under the next ones and after a week or a month I don’t even remember them anymore.
Now it looks like Pulp Fly is wrapping up. That’s a shame too. I recently bought Pulp Fly III and read it and I liked the stories, most written by people I know (in a Facebook kind of way) and respect. They are good people and good writers and I enjoyed what they put together.
I find myself thinking of writing again and I’m wishing I had had an editor these past few years. We’ll see where things go from here, but I have some stories bumping around in my head and I’d like to write them down.
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Well spoken. You’re off to a good start.
One thing not to forget that you do well is connecting with people. And connection trumps everything, even when the delivery’s not technically correct.
I learned that through music more than writing. I wish I could remember where I heard it, but someone once said that Johnny Cash’s music may be simple, but Johnny Cash with an acoustic guitar is more heavy metal than all the actual heavy metal bands around.
“A writer writes.”
Keep it up, my friend.