Training’s Over

Good day,

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.

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Author: George R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

4 thoughts on “Training’s Over”

  1. Another great post. In answer to your question, I’d have to say I’ve spent more time on learning or training. I have to qualify that by saying most of what I’ve learned about writing didn’t come from a class or books on writing but from a great deal of reading I’ve done over years and years (lots of years) of reading. I have read books and taken classes in writing but to really learn how to write eventually you have to do a LOT of writing. Two things popped into my head while thinking about this question. The first, “see one, do one, teach one.” This phrase applies to how doctors learn surgical procedures. Obviously writing something full of mistakes does not have the same consequences as mistakes in surgery (at least not usually LOL) but the idea that you have to put what you’ve learned into practice does hold true for writing. The second thing is a comical quote which is attributed to W. Somerset Maugham. “There are three rules to writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

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  2. Great post. Learning how to write and writing often overlap for me. I tend to let the actual writing go when I get negative feedback, so I spend more time than usual learning how to write, until I get bored and simply NEED to write. Indeed, it can be a slippery slope.

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  3. Oh, hell yes! You need to do all that, and get on with the business of writing. You might also want to investigate writers groups in your area. They can provide a great source of encouragement and will often make the difference between a well-crafted story, and something that’s missing something, perhaps something important. It’s obvious from your blog you know how to write. Get busy! [smile]

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