Writing is a deceptive art. It not only looks easy, it is. Put pen to paper, fingers to keys, and spew forth words. Bonus points for coherency. Have perfect grammar, go to the head of the line. A catchy hook, well then, you’re in the big time. Yet most of us are not. We struggle.
Let me start by saying, relax. Writing is work. Not hard, just work. It is subjective and objective, critically applauded and heartfelt. It is a craft with specific tools needed to ply the trade. The masters make it look easy. The breakout success stories make it look easy. They never mention the years of writing and perseverance that predated that debut novel or how many times said book hit the editing block. Talent only gets you so far.
Go back to your first writing effort. I dare you. My writing improved with time and I’ll bet yours has too. Even if it hasn’t, give yourself a pat on the back. Most people who start writing will never finish. They have forgotten that writing isn’t done for the fame, the glory, the money, or prestige. It is about having fun, making a dedication, a commitment to what we want to share and say to the world.
Chances are they started writing because they read a bad book, voiced opinions such as, ‘They got published, so can I’, or ‘I can write a better story than that!’ I know I’ve read a few novels that have had me rolling my eyes and screaming inside. Books lauded for their genius, their prose, their novelty. I wondered what they had that I could not see as a reader. As a writer, I honor them for spurring me on. For every time I felt like giving up, there has been a bad book to remind me to persevere.
Some have been great teachers, showing in glaring light the mistakes a good book can hide. Three different books taught me: How to use an unreliable narrator, Proper use of dialogue tags and Why not to end 500 pages with a crappy ending.
All are worth their weight in writing gold. To the authors who wrote them, thank you. Your novel encouraged me, taught me in a way Stephen King in On Writing never will. Your bad book is my constant reminder that art is messy and open to interpretation. For that, I love you.
Author/Contributor: Teresa Little