I came across a great post today on The Master’s Artist (see my blogroll). While it is about writing, to me it spoke more about the idea of work. Rather than spoil the effect by telling you too much, I will let you read it for yourself..
I’ve often observed seasoned professionals doing their job and thought, Wow, they are really good at what they do…they must not even have to think about it. All the challenges they face on a daily basis must be ‘old hat.’
I don’t know that I believe that anymore.
Rather, the following observations might be more accurate:
- No one has ever lived today before. Right, no surprise there.
- Everyone at some point of every day has reason to stop and say, this is new. I’m not prepared for this (though some of us roll with the punches a bit better than others).
- No one has enough experience to say unequivocally that today will be just like any other day, that all the issues it brings with it are predictable and mundane, and I will go to bed tonight not having experienced anything different from yesterday or any day previous.
The future is locked tight, and we are banned from even a peek in the window. While we can plan and predict some things, the fact remains that every (sane) human on the planet wakes up every day and must admit this: many things could happen today for which I am not prepared, and over which I have no control.
I find solace in this fact. It means, to me, that we are fundamentally equal. That I don’t have to be intimidated by the experience of others much further down the road than I; we are all limited in scope and control, and that by necessity we depend on God (whether we believe Him or not) to direct our path.
“A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his path.” (Prov. 16:9)
And now a sidenote:
is it this realization that propels so many wanna-be writers to delve into the worlds of make-believe when writing a novel? I recently discovered that a large number (majority, in this particular poll) are writing fantasy, science-fiction, and paranormal stuff. What sells nowadays, evidently, is the novel that allows the reader to be superhuman, or something other, with an ability to control more than in reality…or at least to escape today’s reality.
I suppose that is the point in fictional writing: you are reading it to escape from the decidedly non-fictional life you lead.
Moral of these ramblings: it’s okay to feel inadequate, as long as I keep moving forward.
I read here about the concept of iceberging, eloquently spoken of by Ernest Hemingway. I remember sensing this when reading his Old Man and the Sea, but didn’t know the name for it.
Whaddya know, here it is.
Interesting…I learned today on a literary agent’s blog the importance of keeping one’s writing “tight.” The idea is that one should avoid excessive and unnecessary modifiers or dead weight that slows down one’s story. A list of ways to do this (and words to avoid) followed.
Let me stop here and say that I never realized there were so many ‘rules’ to good writing. In the past, I simply read and decided whether or not it was worthwhile to continue.
I suppose one could see a parallel between a written piece and the human body. A good story might be likened to a healthy body, which gets no particular attention except when it is ill.
Whereas a normal person might consider a story ‘good’ and not question why, a writer (one who studies the craft of writing, anyway) discovers that a good piece is composed of a number of systems working together and operating well as a whole. The difficulty, then, is that rather than the existence of one Creator, there are thousands of would-be writers (yours truly included) who may never get their ‘body’ breathing. 🙂
One more testimony to the greatness–the unattainable genius–of God. He gets it right every time.
I’m learning that a good story really means that the reader doesn’t feel as if he/she is reading at all, just experiencing what is written without noticeable effort to plow through thousands of words. This takes talent. In my view, skill alone (that which is taught and learned) is not sufficient.
Let’s hope I’ve got the stuff it takes. 🙂
Okay, so I hope neither of my faithful readers take this the wrong way:
I am the exclusive type.
That is, I prefer to read stuff that’s interesting and actually readable: mostly correct in punctuation and grammar. A typo here and there is excusable, I suppose, but what really turns my crank is the correct spelling of “definitely!” Wow, what skillful writing!
Recently I’ve begun wading into the writers/literary agents/publishing blogosphere (yes, silly spellcheck, that IS a word—and don’t you spellcheck me on ‘spellcheck,’ you ironical beast), and for the most part, it’s been refreshingly…correct. I don’t find any gag-inducing misusage of “there/their/they’re,” and the paragraphs are bite-sized and filled with engaging quips and interesting info.
Not only that, but—miracle of miracles—even those writing comments on the blogs (or most of them, anywho) are actually writing in complete sentences! Can it be true? Have I come home? After so many years of wandering through the wilderness of poorly written news stories and illegible forum posts, I may have found my comfy spot.
Hopefully I won’t settle in so much that I develop bedsores.
Yes, I’m aware that by posting this I’m setting myself up for critique. I know this blog is largely a simple monologue in which few readers would have any interest, and I’m so green at this writing bit that I am sure to make a fool of myself often.
But I figure at the very least, I’m increasing my dexterity and typing speed.
To both of you, thanks for sticking around. ?
By the way, if you do wish to comment, please spellcheck and run it by your copyeditor before soiling my blog with literary refuse.
…just kidding. I’m just glad
your you’re here.
Some things I am learning lately:
- Writers are Readers, first and foremost. I could read all day about writing and never write a thing.
- If pictures are indicators (which, um, they usually are), many writers appear to be sadly out of shape, which is great news for me! People could just take one look at me and think, “Wow, what a slob! She must be a very successful writer.”
- Even fiction is composed mostly of truth…you have to start with something you know and launch into the unknown..otherwise, it’s not believable. Duh.
- Pita and cheese with basil and tomato is a lovely lunch. And somewhat healthy.
- This one is a bit alarming to me: today’s teen/tween readers are into some gruesome stuff. Vampires, flesh-eating worms, witches, warlocks. This is what’s ‘cool’ to read nowadays. That makes me queasy. Whatever happened to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? And is this stuff worth competing with? YES. For heaven’s sake, literally. Though I’m not sure that it’s my genre, somebody somewhere, I hope, is writing worthwhile stuff for these kids–stuff they actually want to read.
*yawn*…going to bed now. More to learn tomorrow.
So, we went for a little family outing Saturday…diggin’ for gold, so to speak, at a used bookstore. It was packed, and the aisle with titles like How to Write and Not Sound Like a Moron and You Can Make Up Stuff that Other People Want to Read and Pay For!!! was crowded with other hopeful miners.
When I finally managed to maneuver my double stroller (yes, double) to the desired spot, I discovered a sadly lacking variety of titles. Only stuff like Maybe You’re Not the Worst Writer and Buy This Book so This Author’s Children Can Eat was left. Also unnerving was the fact that none of these books really looked like they’d been used much. What seemed more likely was that they’d been bought by some hopeful loser who read two pages and gave up, then traded it for a DVD of All Dogs go to Heaven. That person is still on his couch, now watching reruns of “Home Improvement.”
The only shelf I didn’t scan was the bottom one; however, bending down to look would have been impossible: I was hemmed in on every side by oblivious fellow pseudo-intellectuals (“they’re called ‘readers,’ Dad”); the aisle was so narrow, and I’m …not. So while there may have been priceless titles awaiting my perusal on the bottom shelf, they escaped unnoticed.
It was upon my removal from that aisle that I developed my plan: rather than actually writing something worthwhile, and going through all the rigamarole of studying books on how to write, and going to conferences, and getting an agent and all that, I’m just going to self-publish some stuff about a dwarf who has to return some jewelry to a volcano, and cram it down defenseless children’s throats. And I’m going to draw the cover art myself, to save money. And it’s going to be a trilogy, so I’ll make three times as much money on it.
Success and fame, here I come!!
So, I haven’t really taken the liberty to post to ye olde blog in almost three years. This you know, because you can look at the dates on the posts below and determine that yourself.
“so, this is worth reading so far,” you yawn..
Hey, humor me and stick around. It’s bound to get interesting…you may in fact learn the secret to the cantaloupe loaf that to this point has eluded you.
But first, let’s catch up.
Since November 11, 2006,
- the economy has gone decidedly south. Since I live in the south, I should be in the right place..;)
- I’ve moved. Slightly…20 minutes from the last house, but a bit bigger, with a yard this time, for my growing brood.
- on that note, we added two to our chicken coop. Joel joined us in March of 2007, and Eliza was born in May of 2009. We now are officially a family of 6 who have no choice but a minivan. (that’s ok with me…I don’t do well with too many choices. Now I know the Lamborghini is out.)
- DH (Wes) discovered he has a brain tumor: to be removed, Lord willing, Oct 14 of this year.
- I switched to Mac. YIPPEEEEEEEE is all I have to say about that.
- I’ve discovered I’m a writer. Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but a writer nonetheless (I feel kinda like Bill Murray in “What About Bob” when he claims to be a sailor). And it feels good to admit it. Now just to funnel those random impulses to write into something worthwhile and marketable… A Children’s Picture Book! About a rabbit who learns a life lesson and a hug at the end! Yeah, that’s fresh and unpredictable! And who needs proper grammar for a kids’ book! They don’t know how to spell or punctuate anyway!
…sigh, I’m discovering it’s a bit more complicated than that. And this writing industry takes a bit (or a lot) of effort to break into. Stands to reason: I don’t want any old publisher with ugly pictures producing my book amongst a flood of others destined for the clearance table. Like Hot Pockets–straight to the toilet (thanks, Jim). So, as I figure out how to navigate this lovely field, I shall blog.
Hello, and welcome. again.