The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What Makes You a Writer?

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          This is a sign that hangs in my classroom. The sign, the construction tape, the hardhats--they go with the theme.

           For me, deconstruction is an integral part of the writing process. I write, I delete, I pare down, I rearrange, I tighten.

           Which leads me to what I think is necessary for a writer. A writer must be willing to cast off words/lines/pages. They have to be able to do the work, to get the writing done... and then, to delete parts of their WIP.

           They also need a thick skin. If a writer really and truly wants to get better at their craft, they have to ask fellow writers to be honest. 


Does this suck or is it any good?
Which parts do I need to discard?
Which parts are weak and therefore, need to be overhauled?

           What do you think it takes to be a writer? Delete-happy minds want to know...


17 comments:

  1. You are absolutely right in all you wrote. I don't mind reducing or changing my story, but I have a problem with what is necessary. I know the story/chracters so well I worry about cutting something important to the reader. What if I take out something trivial to me, but it is unknown and necessary for the reader? I love a tight story but don't want to strip it bare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Claudia--The same dilemma is plaguing me. If I take out too much, will it leave my characters wooden or my story dull?

      Delete
  2. I think you've pretty much nailed what it takes, Sioux, and you should know.

    Like most things in life, perseverance pays off. I'd put that at the top of the writer list, followed closely by a willingness to learn and a big helping of humility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy--Perseverance--for sure. And when humility is lacking in a writer, it is sooo obvious.

      Delete
  3. I have no idea, but i do agree, one has to be able to accept criticism, though I would add that one must be able to do so judiciously, and not throw out a passage because Joe Blow said it was weak. A writer needs trusted and fearless friends who know their stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ps--I really really really really miss my little Skittles.

      Delete
    2. Shay--For sure. If they aren't part of your trusted circle of writer friends, you have to take what others say with a grain of salt. I honestly think that even when we get bad suggestions, the time we spend re-examining makes our piece stronger.

      And I can't imagine what a void Skittles has left. I imagine (I hope) that right now she is having endless romps across fields, she is catching ALL the squirrels and rabbits, the treats come at a fast and furious pace, and there's always a hand to pet her.

      Delete
  4. Cutting is the most difficult part of writing, but tightening a sentence, a paragraph or page can really enhance one's work. It helps to have a supportive critique group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda--And I am in the BEST critique group.

      Delete
  5. Great post! I'm terrified of critique groups. It's not that I think I am a great writer...I just have a hard time accepting the opinions of others when I've just poured all of my heart, soul and sweat into something. I guess that's the business, though, and how we become better writers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NoExcuses--It helps if your critique partners are also your friends. And if they're talented writers, with spot-on taste, along with being armed with loads of encouragement... well, you're lucky (which I am).

      Delete
  6. What does it take to be a writer? The fire that burns within. The unavoidable urge to express yourself on page or screen. Looking at situations throughout the day, thinking, "That's a story!"

    I didn't say it makes you a GOOD writer. But it makes you a writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Val--You mentioned something that I always think of but didn't mention--the writer's eye. Writers DO look at life differently. And when they're able to make the ordinary extraordinary (like you do), the results are entertaining. Or moving.

      Delete
  7. You've pretty much covered it, Sioux. I can't state it any better. To that I would add Val's comment about the fire, the passion to write. The only other thing I'd say is that our desire to be writers must be stronger than our fear of failure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa--Oh, that horrible fear of failure. If we never submit, we'll never get rejected. If we never send anything in, we'll never have to wonder, 'What if?'

      Delete
  8. Love the classroom sign.
    I think you're right on about what it takes to be a writer. Knowing what to take out is as important as knowing what to put in. I've found I can't cut out what I don't have on paper.
    For me, having the support of other writers has been a blessing. But having persistence, patience, and passion helps. (What's up with all the Ps?)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Donna--Maybe some day you can write a book on writing and it can be titled, "What's Up With All the Ps?".

    And you just gave me a great tip. I have to get something down on paper before I can delete/revise. Thanks. I kept looking at the blank screen, wondering where to start with the revision, and I couldn't get started... ;)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...