September 30, 2012

Growing as a Writer - by Susan Barclay

I've been writing in some form or other ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. So hopefully I've grown quite a bit as a writer over the years. Many things have helped - teachers, books, conferences, courses, other writers...

While I've had a lot of positive feedback on my writing, to grow I've had to gain, and apply, knowledge. To this end, I've taken classes at the community college level; completed The Institute of Children's Literature's "Special Publishing" course; attended conferences like Write! Canada, Packaging Your Imagination, etc.; and participated in one-off workshops like Donald Maass' The Fire in Fiction.  I've done a lot of reading - the 'for pleasure' (and learning by osmosis) kind, and books that are on writing.  The writers in my collective are a huge help as well, providing honest critique.

The key, though, I believe, is practice, practice, practice. If a tree falls in the forest, does it still make a sound? If a writer doesn't write, is s/he still a writer? And so I strive to make writing a habit.  I blog; I prepare for writers' group meetings; I work on children's picture books, short stories for adults, and on my adult novel. Sometimes I even write poetry. I'll be the first to admit that if you graphed my attempts at disciplined writing, they'd resemble stock performances since 1934. But still I strive, and the overall movement is upward. The overall trend is growth and improvement.

I'll take it. How about you?

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  1. My graph would look just like yours. But I keep working at it, and do what I can while still taking care of the other things that need my attention. Not always easy, but I keep striving too!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree! Practice makes perfect... (or at least BETTER...)

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  4. Susan, I love your analogy of attempts at disciplined writing resembling the stock market. As Christian women we have many demands on our time. It's easy to get discouraged when we set goals and then fail to meet them. Thanks for the encouragement to keep trying :)

  5. Our perspective is always sharper when we look back, it seems, and we can see how we've improved. And that's encouraging to keep moving ahead. Thank you Susan!
    Pam M.

  6. It's always a toss up between discipline and inspiration isn't it?
    You've clearly chosen discipline, even if uneven, and perhaps that's where inspiration comes from!


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