I’ve always thought I was better at writing than most people. Words, reading, sentences–it all came naturally to me.
And it’s true, I am better at writing than most people. Most people don’t write. I’m not as good as those who are also naturally gifted at writing. It’s taken me forever to figure this out…
See, in school, it was helpful that I was better at writing than most people because we were all required to write essays or book reports or research papers or even stupid poems. But that doesn’t matter anymore. People aren’t writing if they don’t want to. They’re doing what they’re naturally good at.
My writing competition isn’t the guy who is the insurance salesman. My writing competition is those that are also naturally gifted at writing. They have a predilection towards words, too. I’m competing against the better writers.
To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m making headway. I have been stuck the past few years. Maybe I’ve plateaued. The irony is, I am writing more now than ever before. I get paid every day to write at my regular job. But I’m not necessarily getting better.
Why Craft? I Need A Refresher
See, right now I feel like a failing novelist. That’s because I am one. Sure, I’ve written some books but I don’t feel like I’ve cracked my full ability yet. I feel like I’ve tried a bunch of different tactics and I need to get back to the basics. To level set. To remember.
That’s why this year my writing focus is on craft. It’s not popsicle sticks and glue, that’s learning how to get better at what you’ve chosen to do. I’ve chosen writing and I need to learn more about it.
I like this definition of craft:
This isn’t a hobby. I make my living by writing. And I need to be more skillful, but also more careful. I’ve made a lot of proofing and editing mistakes this past year. I’m not good at that part. But I also think if I focus more intently on the sentences and words on the at the beginning, then some of that could be eliminated.
Yes, I’ve read some writing books over the years. I’ve taken classes. But I need a refresher. I need a reminder. Now, that I have a style and general interests that power my novels, I want to rethink the actual writing.
I could go in a bunch of directions with this. I work as a copywriter and there are plenty of books to read about that. But I’m gonna stay on the fiction and literary route, sprinkling in a few copywriting books here and there (I don’t like to think they are antithetical to one another.) I know what I’m starting with…but I am open to suggestions. You’ll be hearing more about the book I choose soon…
What do you think about focusing on craft in 2016? Do you have any book suggestions? Leave them in the comments.