A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Monday, April 25, 2011

S, T, and U = Study

These combination posts are becoming all the rave for me now...LOL Today's post will be a combination of three and it can probably cover a lot of ground that most writers can identify with.


When I see this word, I automatically think of school probably because I'm still in school and my life, when not writing or spending time with my family, is engrossed in countless hours studying for school-related things.

Sometimes this is what I look like in the middle of the night:

But this word can also have other meanings, particularly when it comes to the writing process and learning the craft.

I know what some of you are saying...

When I first started on my writing journey, I knew nothing. I mean, NOTHING about what it takes to actually finish a novel and get out into the publishing world. The sad thing was, I didn't know that I knew nothing. LOL I thought, oh...I can do that. I've been writing for most of my life, getting a novel together would be a natural next step. Oh boy, how dreadfully wrong I was.

Like with all craft and all areas of work (and writing is definitely 10% luck and 90% perspiration), it takes an enormous amount of resilience and the drive to learn in order to make ourselves better than we were. Studying the aspects of writing, of publishing, and how these two can come together harmoniously can sometimes be a daunting task because it's hard to figure out where to start.

Not until I actually started pushing myself to learn more, not only about the craft in general, but of the process as a whole, that I realized how much potential I could have. That's another bonus of the whole studying thing: confidence. The belief that I can do something that I previously thought was unattainable. By taking it upon myself to learn more, I can open up more doors to better not only my craft, but me as a person as well.

I look back on that first attempt at a novel now and I literally bug out. LOL It was SO baaaaad...and now, looking at my new WIP, I see the areas of my writing style that went through significant improvements and can now see parts of it where more improvement can be used. Learning about the different elements that went into writing a novel has also helped me to objectively view not only works of others, but my own as well. The "writer's eyes" as some call it.

What experiences have you had in study of the writing process and the industry in general?


  1. HA! I love how you're totally cheating with style =P

    It's hard to go back and read my old writing. It seriously makes me cringe so badly, you'd think I was having a seizure.

  2. GREAT post! And I'm right there with you--since I've started paying more attention to learning the craft, my writing has really improved.

    I think the thing that has improved my confidence the most has been meeting other writers. I used to think that writers were a highly competitive bunch who were all out to get each other. But over the last year or so, I've learned that everyone is really supportive and helpful, and that we're all cheering each other on.

  3. @Lori I got lucky that those letters just so happen to come one right after the other...bahahaha! And yeah...I can't read the first WIP. It makes me teary...like wanting to rip in shreds and feed it to my paper shredder for good measure teary... *takes your old WIP so you no haz seizures*

    @Jess I was kind of in that mind state too. It took me forever to open up to another person and share what I had written, but it was one of the best things I've ever done. The camaraderie between those in the writing community still astounds me. And I get to meet awesome new people. *points to you and nods lots*

  4. Excellent post. I still think a post entitled Shut The ___ Up would have covered STU just fine. ;)

    You are so right about studying the craft and the business. Two parts that are vital to understand if you plan to publish a novel.

    I feel the same way about my first and second books' quality. My first is being critiqued by a pub pro right now and I am cringing already before it has been returned to me. I always planned to rewrite it when it came back, but comparing what I had done to what my WIP is now doing as far as my skills... I am embarrassed by the earlier work a bit.

    Write and learn. The credo of the wanna be novelist.

  5. Bahahaha! Shut The___Up would have been all kinds of EPIC! And then I could have people insert their own words because the word I would've inserted wouldn't have been nice... *shifty eyes*

    And yeah, embarrassed. That's quite the understatement for what I feel every time I look at the previous WIP. *le sigh*

    *agrees with your credo*should affix it on my blog somewhere*

  6. Oh man, I have learned so much just in the past year, and all from connecting with other writers, whether that was through writer's groups, conferences or online. I was sadly misinformed before this past year, and I still have plenty of learning ahead of me.

  7. my first draft makes me laugh. It's 200,000 words--way more than what's allowed for a middle grade novel. Thank God for writing books and learning experiences. :)
    Great meeting you through the A-Z!


  8. @Shannon I think the writing process is something that will continue to evolve as the industry evolves, so learning is part of the process. Conferences definitely help in that you get to meet and/or hear industry professionals give their take on the subject.

    @Nutschell Eek! 200,000 words?! *wide eyed shock* Did you eventually end up trimming that or are you still revising? Oh and I think I actually met you in person at SCBWI's first Hollywood schmooze! LOL But nice to see you again through the A-Z challenge! :D

  9. I've become a better student of life. I used to think that not going to college after high school had been a mistake. Now I see that I'm a student who'll never stop studying. It's an occupational hazard of being a writer.

    Pleasure to meet you via the A-Z Challenge!

  10. More power to you, Jeff! I actually waited a few years after HS to go back to school, but I don't think that it's a necessity to have gone to college in order to facilitate a worthwhile learning experience. I think learning itself is the most important thing and not where that learning takes place.

    Nice meeting you too and thanks for stopping by! :D