I have a talent for music. I can hear a tune once and remember it, even play it on the piano. I can learn a song quickly and even sing along with a song I’ve never heard before (with sound, not words).
This simply makes me talented. It does not; however, make me a music maestro. Learning how to actually play chords, use both hands to play full melodies, read and write music and piano techniques, would.
This is the same with writing. So many people have writing talent; however, not many have the know-how to become a Best-Selling Author. Why is that, I wonder? Simply, it’s because most people in our society lack the patience to study the craft. Most are more impressed with being able to say that they published a book, than actually learning the craft itself.
I think of amazing writers like Aurelis Award Winning novelist Marianne de Pierres, 2003 The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters winner Stephen King and Hugo and Nebula Award winner Orson Scott Card. Each of them learned the craft of writing and wrote many stories and books before ever being truly considered greats in their chosen fields. They have all given back so that other writers can learn the same lessons they have (with fewer headaches and heartburn).
Each of them have written for a long while, but if you notice, most of what they teach is about…writing. Orson Scott Card actually offers free writing lessons on his website. Of the 34 listed, only about four or five deal slightly with publishing.
Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”, barely talks about the publishing process. He talks about writing. He even issues a writing lesson which you can send to him and receive feedback. Marianne de Pierres is the Co-Founder of ROR wRiters On the Rise; which aside from being a really great website to find fantastic Science Fiction authors, is a critiquing group for professional writers in Australia. They critique the writing of the authors, not their choice of publishing. Critiquing helps these writers to better their craft.
What’s my point, you may ask? Simple. We must learn the exquisite craft of writing if we are ever to take ourselves seriously as writers. We have to stop rushing to the finish line and take the time to learn the nuances and technical sides of writing. We must learn how to write.
My challenge to you today is to look at your own writing and think about your weaknesses. Could you stand to learn more about conflict, or scene structure? How multi-dimensional are your characters? How’s your grammar, punctuation and sentence structure? Do you know the difference between their, they’re and there and when to use which?
It does not make you a lesser writer to admit and therefore fix your weaknesses. It will, in the long run, make you a stronger writer who will be able to one day, hopefully, see your name listed as one of the greatest writers.