Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Did You Learn...

I sound like Stewie from 'Family Guy' when he's at the baseball game. He catches the fly ball and some kid wants to trade his bat for the ball. Stewie takes the bat, smacks the kid over the head and keeps both the ball and bat, then asks, "What did you learn?"

In this case though, I'm talking about writing. I've been looking back over some old stuff I've written and have winced, cringed and thought, "Oh good lord... what was I thinking?". It makes you think about what you've learned from your craft.

What have I learned? Well, I used to have an issue with changing tense in the middle of a sentence. Have I corrected that? Sometimes I think I have, but once in awhile, I catch myself. That is something I really don't look for. I try to keep a weather eye on my writing, but some things still slip past me.

I've also learned not to use 'was', 'that' or 'then' so much. Same for 'and'. I think I have worked harder at constructing stronger sentences and being more succinct rather than long-winded. Bet you wish I could say the same for my blog posts, huh?

I've learned I am a Writer. I have started reading 'Sometimes the Magic Works' by Terry Brooks. His book on writing. In the introduction, Elizabeth George defines the difference between an 'Author' and a 'Writer'. An Author seeks only to get published and get advances for their work while Writers write and seek to better their work with every book.

Do I agree with that? Perhaps. I agree that I am more along the lines of a Writer because I do try to better my craft with each sentence I write. I honestly don't care if I make money writing. I mean, yeah, I'll take the cash! But that isn't the point of getting my stories out there. I want them to be shared and loved by others as much as I love writing them. I don't think all Authors are seeking a paycheck. I do think there are some One Book Wonders out there, people who have no clue about writing but got something published anyway. Would they be able to do it again? Doubtful. I don't think they know how to work at writing.

I have learned a lot in the last couple of years. Blogging has helped, reading all your blogs has REALLY helped and of course, so have books like Terry's.

So, what have you learned? Would you define yourself as a Writer or Author according to Elizabeth George? Are you a better writer than you were?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm both - or at least I hope so. I am improving with each book. And yes, everyone here has helped so much!

Unknown said...

I'd say I'm a writer since there's no signs of me getting published this century :)

I've learned a lot about writing for an audience i.e. getting my point across that makes a kind of sense to other people and not just in my head. I wish I could learn to write more succinctly though!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh gosh, I'm not sure - I mean, I'd like to be published someday, yeah, but that's not why I write. :)

Talli Roland said...

I shudder sometimes when I think about my first writing attempts! I think I've learned a lot, but I also feel I've worked pretty hard at it.

Arlee Bird said...

I find that the more I write, the more mistakes I make, but I also find the mistakes more readily when I go back to reread. I seem to crank stuff out more easily than I used to--of course the computer helps with that. But, yes, I think my writing has improved over all, but I also look at some of my writing from college days and don't think it sounds bad at all.

Tossing It Out

Mel Chesley said...

@ Alex ~ I agree, I love this community!

@ Jamie ~ It will come with time, shortening those sentences to get your point across. It is a hard thing to do, though!

@ Bethany ~ Exactly!

@ Talli ~ Me too! My first works make me cringe.

@ Arlee ~ I'm finding my mistakes a lot more quickly as well. You're lucky you like your writing from college. :D

randi lee said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your insights! I've learned that I overly describe. I'm working on it in my second revision and the action seems to be flowing much better now!

I think I need to check this book out. I've heard a lot of people talk about it lately.