Thursday, May 31, 2012

Read, Write, Edit, Repeat

I've plunged headfirst into the world of writing - specifically, reading about writing.  I feel as if I'm a desert cactus, surprised and delighted by a rainstorm and soaking up every drop within reach for that not-so-rainy day when I feel parched and uninspired.

This year my life themes seem to be discipline, learn, and opportunity.

I have the opportunity to learn discipline, specifically in writing, but it seems to be playing out in other areas as well -- fitness (healthy eating/exercise/sleep), housekeeping (keeping the kitchen/bathroom clean, basic organization so things run smoothly, schedules, etc.), and in relationships (maintaining a healthy balance of spending time with friends and time at home, time with the spouse and time alone).

It's strange to see it play out so, but a happy change from my chaotic post-adolescent attempt at living.

(Which isn't to say I'll fall back into that at times, but the more days I exercise discipline, the quicker it becomes a habit)

I'm so grateful for writers who open their closets and let the skeletons come out -- to actually see a story up close and take it apart to learn how to put it back together is a valuable experience.

I read a piece of advice that mentioned apprenticeships, particularly with writing.  This is something any writer can do.  "Apprentice" yourself to a writer you admire and think has a style similar to yours (or writes about subjects that interest you).  Drink in their work.  Take it apart, admire it.  Remember how they structure things and what you like about their stories (clever dialogue?  Great story pacing?  A satisfying conclusion?).  Only by analyzing these things as a reader (why do I like this?) can we get better at writing (what tools can I take from them and use in my own work?).

I'm sketching out a list of potential authors I'd like to "apprentice" to, which has me thinking about the kind of style I imagine I will have (based on past writing projects, current writings and ideas folder) and which authors are closest to the kind of author I would like to be.  So far, Sharon Creech and Madeleine L'Engle are heading the list.

I'm also thinking about reviving some of my short stories to see if there's even a spark of creativity in them and possibly using them for revision practice. 

...and I found a writing prompt generator that I can practice with several times a week to get my creative juices flowing.

I will be posting reviews in a few days -- along with more Harry Potter/Hufflepuff observations (I'm partway through Goblet of Fire), a spot of writing and perhaps that project I was talking about with The Legend of Eli Monpress...!

Stay tuned.

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