From my in depth research (FYI – that’s what I call my countless hours of trawling the great wide internet) it would appear that anyone who has anything to say has a list. 10 Ways to Make the World a Better Place through Hair Product Use, 5 Ways to Unclog Your Toilet With a Q-Tip, 72 Steps to a Better Relationship with Your Cat,…..I think you see where I’m going with this. While I do have so many lists to share with you – grocery, to do, people who I think should surrender their driver’s license immediately (that is actually a very funny list) – I thought I would stay on the topic of writing since that is kind of the whole point of my blog. So here is my list – have at it!
5 Qualities that a Writer should (but I don’t) Possess
PATIENCE – I just can’t say enough about this one. First, it is a virtue I am completely unfamiliar with as I have none. Writing takes time and traditional publishing takes even longer. Crafting the skill of putting cognitive thought to paper in a way that engages and entertains people can be a lifelong journey that is never mastered. Alternately there is blogging! I find this medium satisfies both the honing of the craft part while filling that (and this could be an American thing – or just me) need for immediate gratification.
DILIGENCE – Writing consistently at the same time and same place can lead to a sense of continuity and help a writer to stay focused. Setting a schedule for hours at the computer or page/word counts can help you to consistently produce. Or you can try my approach – 1.)Write on any little scrap of paper while operating a moving vehicle 2.)Put pen to paper at any given time of day or night (if you read my earlier Muse piece you would know that my gal can’t tell time) 3.)Take days, months, or years to finally get around to finishing a piece. I actually wouldn’t recommend that last one to anyone who wants to see a book in print before age 45. But if you’re also on the later in life publication path then by all means, go for a drive.
BOUNDARIES – Keep the writing life and the rest of life in balance. All I can say on this one is HAHAHAHAHA. Largely because it is the minutia of daily life that often generates the best of ideas. Also, it is hard to create a physical boundary when the children’s dinner and homework times often collide with “…hang on everyone, I have an awesome idea – get me some paper!” time.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW – I am about 50/50 on this advice. Yes, some people can write amazing things about subjects that are close to their heart. Many experts can parlay their experience and education into fabulous pieces that embody all that they have learned. On the flip side are the talking animals, alternate universes, murder mysteries, and hundreds of other topics that people write about all the time while having no firsthand knowledge of the subject. I am pretty sure that E.B. White did not own a talking pig nor does J.K. Rowling own a flyable Quidditch stick. And one would hope that all murder mysteries are not written by folks who are sitting down at the desk after a fresh kill. So my sage advice on this quality is to write what you know but don’t be afraid to go elsewhere.
PERFECTION – Write and rewrite until a piece is absolutely, unequivocally perfect before sharing it with the world. Ummm – no. Reread, edit, and get some beta readers for proofing but don’t let the fear of imperfection keep you from sharing. Even the masters made mistakes. I don’t want to be Emily Dickinson. I do in the sense that I would like my work to be known by virtually anyone who takes Basic English Lit but I don’t in the more literal way of how her work entered the world – years after she died. I would prefer to see my byline on articles and my name on the spine of a book rather than pass into the next realm only to have my family and friends find my ideas littered around the house like so many pieces of dust. (wow – that was a longwinded and slightly imperfect sentence) Call me an egomaniac but if you are calling me something, then I know you’ve read my work!
Have a list of your own? Don’t be shy – share in the comments. As long as your post doesn’t involve my name and a driver’s license revocation it’s all good…