It’s the last day of the year, and I’m in a reflective mood. I look back on my writing endeavors for this past year, and I’m disappointed. Not in the stories I did write and publish. I’m happy with those as I believe my readers are, but I’m disappointed in myself. Like many of you, I’m a spouse, a parent, I work a full time day job, and that doesn’t include all the other things that tug at my life on a daily basis, like housework and laundry. I also run a graphics company. So yep…I’m a busy woman. And in all those things, while I’m not perfect, I do perform fairly well.
So what’s my problem? I failed to take the time to work on the one thing I’m most passionate about. My writing. Writing is an art and like every art it requires practice. It is not enough to just produce a story. It’s important to focus on the fundamentals as well. How much better can your plot fit your story? How can you make your characters more real? How can you craft the words in a sentence to show and not tell? These are the things I neglected this past year.
You have to exercise your writing muscle just like you do your body muscles or it becomes lazy and satisfied that it is producing its best work. The more you challenge yourself to improve your writing the better it becomes. I plan to reach into myself and pull out a few stories that I write purely for the purpose of improving my craft. Yes, I’m still working on The Gamble, my civil war action adventure, but just think how much better it will be if I spend the time exercising the craft.
In 2017, I plan to schedule time for writing practice. I’ve found some books and workshops I plan to attend to study my craft. It takes a long time to become a professional at anything. Do yourself a favor and build your writing into a profession. Take the time from your busy family life and work schedule if you’re not fortunate to work at writing full time, and carve out an hour or so a day or a few times a week to just practice learning your craft. You deserve that time. Think of it as your duty to follow your passion. All that other stuff will get done. It always does.
I’ll be along side you. I promise we’ll all be the better for it, and give our readers a much more gratifying experience.