Sunday, April 29, 2012

A question and an invitation

The Writer Magazine is celebrating 125 years of publication in 2012. It holds the distinction of being the oldest currently published magazine for writers. During this year-long celebration, the magazine is inviting writers to answer the questions What is the single most useful thing you've learned about writing, and how has it helped you as a writer? 

I thought it might be interesting to hear from you, either as a commenter or as a guest blogger here at The Word Place. I'll start things off with my own answer to the questions:

The single most useful thing I've learned about writing is that you have to do it! Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) put it this way: Write regularly, day in and day out, at whatever times of day you find that you write best. Don't wait till you feel you are in the mood. Write, whether you feel inclined to write or not.

We all feel disinclined to write from time to time. Maybe we call it 'writer's block' or the 'absent muse'. But writers write--so it must be done, and if I call myself a writer, I have to write. Sometimes it's a WIP; other times it's a personal journal entry which helps me sort out my thinking/feeling on something happening in my life. Words provide a catharsis of sorts. James Baldwin (1924-1987) confirmed this when he said, One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.

So how has learning that I must write helped me as a writer? The answer isn't as obvious as one might think. It's not so much the actual writing as it is the commitment to write. When we sign a contract, we commit to seeing the project through however many edits our editor deems appropriate, to scrutinizing the galleys, and finally, to promoting our published work. But more important than the contract commitment is the commitment we make to ourselves when we say, "I am a writer."

Writers write, whether or not we garner profit or recognition. We write because we are writers.
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Again, I invite you to share your own answers. Email me, judy@judynickles.com, to choose a day to be my guest at The Word Place, and feel free to do some promo along with sharing your writing wisdom. 
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3 comments:

Vonnie Davis said...

I've learned TWO important things:
1.) Write the type of story you enjoy reading.
2.) The power of point of view.
3.) Sometimes, if you're aiming for a comedic heroine, you make her too stupid to live.
4.) Writers can't count.

Judy Nickles/Gwyneth Greer said...

That's a hoot, Vonnie! But nobody's counting anyway, not when good ideas are being shared!

Allison said...

I have learned two important things.
1. Read alot!
2. Never give up!

There are all kinds of important points but the most important are the two I mentioned. If you don't read, then how can you write and if you don't write then you are not an author. Now if you want to talk about getting published.... That's another whole ball of wax!