I should be writing my short story rather than this post, but this is something I feel is worth talking about.
I think it’s amazing the knowledge we are able to attain. There are so many sources of education we have access to. Books, schools, internet search engines, social media. The treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom is limitless.
I’m a visual person when it comes to attaining knowledge. If I see how something is created, I can follow it quite well. The same applies to my writing. I’ve been watching a lot of videos from different writers about various aspects of the writing process. From generating story ideas to creating three-dimensional characters to publishing. All of these topics are important to writers of all levels.
One video particularly stood out to me. A video from K. M. Rice where she discussed the difference between writers and storytellers. This captured my attention so much that I went to a couple of my writing friends and asked them if I was a better writer or storyteller. One of my friends then responded with this.
“Why does it matter? You shouldn’t someone’s opinion influence what you are.”
At least, it was something to that effect. But it got me thinking. I was watching a lot of videos on how to write a story than actually writing a story. I had to ask myself why.
Why am I doubting myself? Am I that insecure in my abilities? What is the cause of all this fear?
I have a few possibilities. Maybe it’s because I haven’t written consistently. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid to fail. Maybe it’s because I can’t handle someone saying that I have no business being a writer. I’m still trying to figure it out.
Recently, I saw a video on Jenna Moreci’s YouTube channel. She talked about New Year’s Resolutions for writers. In her video, she lists five resolutions writers should make. Two stood out to me. One, embrace failure. The bottom line is that it’s going to happen. I am going to fail at writing. But the best writers—hell, the best people—don’t wallow in their failures. They learn from it and use it as motivation to do better. Which brings me to the second resolution (the last one on her list)–elevate your game.
Let’s be real. There comes a point where we get stale, complacent. I think I’m at that point. I’ve settled on writing whenever I feel like it. I’m at a point where writing isn’t really important. And that should not be. If I want to have a short story collection to publish. If I want to submit my best stories to contests and magazines for publication. Then, I’ve got to take my writing to the next level. I’ve got to write no matter what. And I have to put in the work. Writing, revising, editing. Everything in order to make my stories the best they can be.
There’s nothing wrong with taking time away from writing to study up on the craft. Everyone needs a refresher every now and then. But at some point, we need to put the books down, step away from social media, and shut down the videos. We need to take what we’ve learned and apply them to writing the best story possible. And if we fail, so what? We dust ourselves off and try again. (Bonus points if you know where that line comes from.) And regardless of failure or success, don’t settle. Use it to make yourself better.
What about you? What do you use as a learning tool? Do you find yourself studying more than writing? Let me know in the comments and maybe we can help each other out.
Until next time…class dismissed.