Mastering the Craft of Writing
By nature, writers are interested in many things. They’re observant, reasoning, seek motivations for actions and weigh reactions. Typically, they seek experiences because everything is story fodder. The deeper their creative well, the more assets are available to them to draw from—and that offers them more writing choices.
One of the most appealing things about writing to many writers is that they can explore a lot of different interests and then wrap stories around those interests to share with others.
Because of diverse interests and broad appeal, writers tend to bore easily. That makes writing extremely attractive because no matter how much a writer studies, how long they study, the fact is the writer will never master writing. It will always provide the writer with mental stimulation because there’s always something new and different to try, to explore, to learn.
Years ago, I decided to go back to college and get a master’s degree in creative writing. As I looked at the courses, I was both elated and dismayed. There wasn’t much available or required for the program that I hadn’t already independently studied. I met with my counselor and we evaluated. I challenged the maximum number of courses permitted and then continued, studying a lot of things that are now obsolete.
That might sound like a waste of time to some, but it was interesting. Stepping into the past and seeing how things had been done. Wonderful book fodder.
Learning, for writers, is typically a lifelong passion. Pulling in a lot of disparate information creates a plethora of possible scenarios. It makes the mind flexible, makes the writer think of putting odd or unusual things together and projecting what will happen. That, for the writer, is just plain fun.
It’s also why writers pursue learning their whole lives. After the master’s degree, I went back again and got a Ph.D. But I still haven’t stopped going to school. Conference workshops, online classes and discussions with writer’s groups keep the desire to learn fresh. This past weekend, I started James Patterson’s Masters Class.
Why, after working all week—over 50 hours—would I do that? Because it’s fun.
That’s the other thing about writers. They love writing or they’d be doing something else. There are far easier ways to earn a living. But if you love something, it doesn’t feel like work. It doesn’t seem like a must-do, it seems like a privilege. That’s passion.
And passion is the key to determining whether or not you’re a professional writer or a hobbyist, which is vital information to know when deciding your career path.
I’ve been writing something nearly my whole life. I started with political essays, moved into poetry and quickly moved through short stories and into novels. I couldn’t wait to put thoughts into form then, and all these decades later, I still can’t wait to get to my stories today. Passion, enthusiasm, a deep love for what you do can take you to places that sheer will cannot go.
So when you’re debating whether or not to write. Ask yourself how much you like to learn, to explore, to observe. If you naturally think motivations, goals, and conflicts; if you naturally are drawn to learning and trying new ways and approaches to doing things, and if you find yourself exploring things and seeing bits of good and bad in all sides, then you might just want to try your hand at writing.
Of course, you could take the short-cut and quit. Yes, quit writing. If you can do it, then it’s not the profession for you. That’s the fastest way to discover the bottom line. Writers can’t quit. When they’re not writing, they’re not content. It’s that simple. So quitting to see if they can quit is a direct path to discovering the truth.
And isn’t it a wonderful blessing to know that no matter how long or much you study, how long or much you invest in exploring and learning, you’ll never master writing? There is always something new to investigate. Writing is, indeed, a lifelong adventure!
Now some will be disappointed to hear that writing can’t be mastered. That shatters an illusion for some, and causes feelings of being overwhelmed in others. But for those of us who have had, or hope to have, a lifelong intimacy with writing, this disclosure doesn’t cause dismay. It’s a reason to celebrate.
© 2015, Vicki Hinze.
Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.www.vickihinze.com.
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