Monday, April 11, 2011

Is Writing an Art?

"In order to learn how to play his instrument, it takes the guitarist weeks to build calluses on his fingertips; it takes the saxophonist months to strengthen his lips so that he might play for only a few minute stretch.

Why does the writer assume they can just write with no training whatsoever-and then expect on their first attempt to be published? What makes them think they are so much inherently greater, need so much less training than any other artist?"


-From The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
Agree or disagree? I, for one, have scary first drafts to prove it.

We've all heard the media hype about certain authors. One example is Stephanie Meyers. Twilight was her first novel, so she had success right out of the gate. And that gives writers hope.

Because let's face it: writing an entire novel is hard work. It takes me about 3 months to get a first draft down. It takes some as short as four weeks, others as long as a year. And then all the revisions begin. You pour your blood, sweat and tears into your story, so of course, you hope against hope that it will capture an agent/pub house's attention.

So while we wait, the only thing to do is polish our masterpieces, fine tune our dress rehearsals, and perfect our craft. All while learning something very valuable in the process: how to develop thick skins (and scabs on our souls) while in perpetual waiting and rejection mode.


THAT is something Stephanie doesn't have on me. *wink*


(reflectionistheword.org)

15 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL. I bet she doesn't scourer writers' blogs and non fiction books on writing for those nugets of advice to take her writing to the next level either. ;)

SharleneT said...

The answer to your first question is, "Because." (Well, it worked for my kids!) But, that's the same thing when trying to get paid for art work. You get things like, "Well, it's so easy for you. You just did that in no time." No, it's not. I did that because I have more than fifty years experience working out all the kinks, colors, and how to bring it all together, so the painting actually took me 50 years and 93 days to finish. So there.

By the way, ALL my excised golden words are saved to their own separate file for potential use, later! I can edit from a draft; but, I can't just can't seem to throw my away! Good post. Come visit when you can.

Kelly said...

Yes, writing is definitely an art that can continue to improve with practice and knowledge! Thankfully!

salarsenッ said...

You truly are a queen. We each have our time. I'm a firm believer in that. After my near 'calls' from three different agents in January, I fell into this slump: I suck; my writing sucks; basically life sucks. Then, my hubby reminded me of my first job. Not being a dental assistant, but of being a mom. The work I've done with our children, being a stay at home mom, has taken enormous amounts of effort--blood, sweat, and tears. And I've been learning the entire time.

Jules - Big Girl Bombshell said...

Yes.. writing is an art! It is a way of communicating feelings or stories that play. It is a living breathing piece of ourselves. Some are "lucky" but it doesn't mean that they are better. I am just now, after many many years...HONORING that. i think the time we put into it is about respect!

Chris Phillips said...

Writing is a lot like a science imo.

Matthew MacNish said...

Even for those of us who were genius right out of the gate, there is still room to improve.

Justine Dell said...

I've read Noah's book and it's wonderful! Those first five pages are soooo important and some people totally over look that. Not only that, not very many artist pick up their "talent" and can create a masterpiece the first time. It takes work!

~JD

Ben Spendlove said...

Yeah, playing the sax uses muscles you never knew you had. But they're the same muscles used to play trumpet. I'm sure that fits into the metaphor somehow.

Little Ms J said...

I totally agree with this and I have the MS to prove it. I thought it was all shiny, beautiful and such and then re-read it about a year later. Bleh.

Lourie said...

The other thing about writing is not everyone can do it. It floors me when I hear people say, "I can't write." or when I was in school the kids who got C's or less on essays. At the time, I didn't understand how someone got a C on such an easy assignment. But I can't sew to save my life. But a good friend of mine sewed her own wedding dress. I can learn to sew. But I will probably never sew a wedding dress. It's all about growing the the talent you were given. And part of the growth is dusting yourself off and moving forward. I thought of JK Rowling. HOw many rejections did she have before scholastic picked her up? ALl those other publishers probably still kick themselves!

Lindsay said...

Great post. I think writing is an art, but if the talent is there it can be nurtured, educated and blossom. I bet all the great artists painted squiggles before they learnt to draw. Same with writing ;)

blueviolet said...

My boyfriend doesn't think his first book will be picked up because it starts off very slowly. The book he's writing now is an attention grabber so he may have some nibbles on that. One can hope...

Maddy said...

I agree! There are exceptions to every rule . But for most folks, putting in the work and time gets it done.

Kirsty said...

So true!
It's a bit ridiculous isn't it?
I for one am still working on my callouses. And it hurts! hehe