Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Advice to writers

I've taught writing for a very long time and have shared the classroom with a number of students who spin fabulous lines or stories during a short writing exercise in class. These are students who could find a place in the writing world, students whose writing makes me envious. I love the way they use words and evoke emotions. Perhaps most of all, their voices ring clear. I admire the ease with which these writers craft a journal entry or an in-class story. However, once class ends and they're on their own, many of these writers tend to falter and stop writing. My gut says these would-be writers don't trust the process and as a result find it hard to commit to the day-to-day of a writer's life. As writers, we don't publish our work after a 10- to 15-minute writing activity. Usually, our writing projects wear on for months or years, and we don't get much in the way of feedback except from our editors. Their words of encouragement mean the world to us and keep us moving forward. My best advice to students who wish to write has always been, "Trust the process: keep putting words on paper and revise revise revise." Perhaps Bonnie Friedman in Writing Past Dark takes my words even further:

Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences.
They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover
what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, 
and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.   

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