Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Write Right from the Heart!

This piece was created for a student blog (Young Authors 8-16) but I think it is something that we all need to remember.

“I can write a story, so I know I can write a book.”
“My story should be published because my mom and teacher both told me it was good.”
These are some of the comments I hear on a regular basis from young writers and Young Authors.  As a student of writing you need to understand that because you have a talent of writing, doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skill of writing.
There is a difference between the two.  A talent is a gift you were born with.  Something that makes writing “seem” easy to you.  A talent also comes with a hidden secret, that of responsibility.  If you are given a gift (talent) you also have a responsibility to give it back to others, in the form of your work.  So, you might say, a talent isn’t a gift to you, it is a gift to the world.
Now, the writing skill is totally different.  This is something you need to learn, you learn writing skills by reading good books and analyzing them, thinking about their research, setting, character development, and plot.  You learn writing skills by keeping a journal of writing ideas and writing in it daily.  You learn writing skills by taking writing workshops, writing short stories, experimenting with writing styles, and reading about writers.
No one, even if they are born with the talent of writing can “just” sit down and get the story correct the first time.  Even if you write a story you are very happy with it and your teacher and parents compliment you on it.  You must edit it and change it to make it even better.
Remember: There are lots of very talented writers out there that will never acquire the skill it takes to become successful writers because they aren’t willing to work to acquire the skill.
Don’t let your ego ruin your talent by making yourself “think” you already know everything there is to know about writing.
I have been writing professionally for over 33 years, I have had over 1,000 newspaper and magazine articles published and am working on my 16th book, and I still go to workshops, read books on writing, do tons of research, edit, and work at building on my knowledge (skill) of writing.