I feel that it is important to always be open to improvement. The desire to improve can come from simple or elaborate reasons. Who doesn’t want their works to be well known and well received? Do you have a big plans for something you are spending countless hours on? Do you simply want your work to be the best it can be? Take those reasons and keep them at the forefront of reminding yourself that you don’t know, and will never know, everything about your craft. It doesn’t mean to give up, but to notice and take opportunities to generally learn more and improve your technique.
My history in writing has been very non-traditional. It doesn’t necessarily apply to the novel writing that I’ve been doing more of lately. A lot of it is based in the Internet. From reading numerous articles for the enjoyment of learning to writing articles and content for the websites I’ve created over the years. A lot of them were informational or instructional, but others were journal based. A few of those I’ve turned into books, or at least used them as content sources. I did have a few composition classes in college that were really memorable to me thanks to a great teacher, but like I said, it’s been pretty non-standard.
I have a few mental walls that I am working toward lowering. At least these are the few I’ve been able to notice or are prominently placed in my mind:
- I’ve felt that I don’t want to influence myself in ways that could be bad by reading novels. I’ve read a small few over the years, but I’ve never been a novel reader. This is generally poor thinking if I want to make something that appeals to a wide audience. I want to walk a fine line here to keep my natural ways and also incorporate standard well-received techniques that traditionally published writers use.
- I’ve not put much effort into improving my technique from a technical standpoint. I have a composition book I need to get back into and a few other sources for this.
- Finding support. I am a very (very) independent person when it comes to some things. I’d like more feedback and to just generally talk with people interested in this.
- Figuring out what has worked for people who have been successful in the standard publishing industry. Though, self-publishing and other forms are important to me, I’d like to get more into the traditional side of things.
Occasionally, I visit the local “Half Price Books” outlet store. They have extremely cheap used books. The challenge is finding books that I consider useful to me in the multitude of stuff that are likely not the most desirable seeing as they ended up there. The main issue for me is lack of space and finding the time to read what I buy.
I picked this older (circa 2003) book up called “The novel writers Toolkit” by Bob Mayer. There were a few similar books, but this one had a good feel to it while skimming. I’ve been reading it before I sleep since then and have started to gain new insight. It’s interesting that a lot of what I’ve done fits within his suggestions. Other suggestions such as reading best-sellers and breakout novels, with a mindset of analysis and deconstruction of their techniques, is something I’ll have to work on. So far, it’s been insightful even though a few things related to the current state of technological tools when writing is dated.
That’s it for now as I’m in a bit of a rush, but there is a lot more to be said on this subject.