Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For Love Of The Craft

Good Morning All,

Originally when I was going to post I didn't know what I was going to say, but I was talking to a friend of mine about things to do with devoting oneself to writing (being in it for the long-haul) and suddenly it came to me. That's a blog post. So kudos awards go to Michelle The Merry (as she likes to call herself--I send you a very enthusiastic "Whoopee!")

What does a writer have to do for love of the craft? Is it sitting in front of the computer (or notebook) and push through a difficult place to get the story out? Is it researching for hours and hours about a topic that has to be presented as realistically as possible? Is it reaffirming oneself despite doubts? Is it researching the publishing world to know exactly the right agent or publisher to query? Is it getting feedback? Is it settling for simplistic writing or going for the fancy writing?

It's all these things and more.

It means deciding that writing is the career of choice. I'm not saying quitting one's day-job (unless you can), but what I'm talking about is saying "Okay, this is way more than just a passing fancy, this is part of my life." And writing can morph into a huge part of a writer's life.

EXAMPLE: On Nicholas Sparks' website he talks about how after he had the financial means, he quit his job and devoted himself to writing. Considering the immense success of his books, he probably did what helped him most. He focused his attention on his characters, plot and making sure he was giving his very best.

I watched a movie called The Christmas Cottage, which is a very nice movie based on part of the artist, Thomas Kinkade's life and he said that an artist who was his mentor told him he "wouldn't teach him how to paint, but why to paint." Kinkade describes that the mentor told him he had to give his very best. (It's a really nice movie, by the way. I recommend it).

As writers we have to take the same advice. We have to put forth our very best writing. We can't settle for half efforts, we have to give all. We have to put our whole joys, successes, pain, failures...everything out there for readers. We can't just sit there and figure that the humdrum dialogue in chapter 15 is perfect. We have to take that humdrum dialogue and make it awesome. We have to drive that story forward with our dialogue and action. We have to "paint" with our words. Not that we have to get fancy, we just have to imprint images. Ignite the imagination.

Our best efforts is what's going to separate us from our ordinary selves and our writing selves.
Sometimes our writing self needs the simplistic writing and sometimes we need the fancier writing. Both are fine, but they each play a different role and a writer has to make sure that they aren't overdoing it one way or another. Balance is important.

There are moments when, instead of saying "He held her hand.", you have to say "He clutched her hand." They both are the same thing, they both work, but "clutching" has more of a desperate connotation rather than "held". Depending on the mood your character might be desperate, or he might be just fine. The right word choice will help convey the right mood.

So what do you do for love of the craft?

Have A Tantalizing Tuesday!


Regina Milton said...

You are right about balance being important. It is really annoying to read a whole piece of work that is overdone one way or another.

Loved the quote from the movie that you included. It isn't so much about the how sometimes as it is about the why. I have spent a lot of time recently discovering the "why" of my writing. It is something I love to do. My purpose (and life) make more sense when I'm doing what I was created to do.

bethanyintexas said...


Thank you for your comment! "The Christmas Cottage" is just a really nice, warm/fuzzy type movie. I liked it. Gives a lot of reminders about giving of oneself--sacrifcial love. So that always makes me happy.

J.J. Bennett said...

This is a hard one for me. I've never wanted to be a writer. So, it's alittle different for me... I'm looking at this more like being a storyteller. I was given a story and now I have to share it. I love the story...so I better buckle down and learn to write my butt off. LOL!

bethanyintexas said...

J.J.--Makes sense. Writers tell a story. Sometimes the writer knows the story, sometimes it just happens. Best of luck to you in all of it!

Stephanie Faris said...

I didn't realize there was a movie about Thomas Kinkade's life. I love success stories. Nicolas Sparks is great...but I really wish he'd quit killing off the main male characters in his books. It's become as predictable as the happy ending in romance novels. You start wondering from the beginning..."Okay, how's this one going to die?"

bethanyintexas said...


I never thought of that. The thing about "A Walk To Remember" he never comes out and says whether or not Jamie dies. And when asked, N. Sparks said that he leaves it up to the reader to decide which way it goes.