There is always someone who has not heard of a famous person, so I will not assume each of your are aware of Sue Grafton, but she is a best selling mystery writer whose titles have used the alphabet, going from A to Z, such as her first book A is for Alibi. According to her website, her latest book is “X” and that means two more novels, then . . . who knows.
She said the following about writing:
“There are no secrets and there are no shortcuts. As an aspiring writer, what you need to know is that learning to write is self-taught, and learning to write takes years.”
I remember hearing writers years ago saying one could not learn to be a writer through taking creative writing classes, that either you are a writer or you are not, and the best a writing class can do is make you a better reader, and understand the ‘craft’ or ‘art’ of writing.
Everyone has their opinion, but there is something to that. I think you can learn to write by reading and breaking down what writers do, even though there are different approaches, different styles, and the more variety you read, the better you should be as both reader and writer.
And Grafton is correct in that there are no shortcuts, and no matter how many webinars and conferences you attend, and no matter how many ‘how to books’ you read, there are no secrets. Most writers that I have learned about did teach themselves, trial and error, working through grammar, structure, metaphors, imagery, character creations, and everything in between and after; in truth each story, each book is an experiment, considering that the word ‘novel’ means strikingly new.
If you write then the more you write the better your writing should be. At least we hope so, and I think it is for the majority of us. It is a matter of being open to what you are doing and not doing, always challenging your ego to do better, not thinking you have it all figured it out. That is the learning process, and the process never ends.
There are and always will be, ways to improve. With each story you write, consider yourself starting from scratch, beginning a new. It is a novel approach.
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