Parts Of Writing.
The most crucial takeaway from the whole NaNoWriMo 2016 fiasco is, I realized the need to learn how to write. Writing a few blog posts and writing a book (in any genre) are about as much the same as speaking at a family function and giving a TED talk. Not the same.
It doesn’t mean that I can never give a TED Talk. I can (if invited), but there is going to be a hell lot of preparations and practice. Can I write a decent book that my readers would appreciate and recommend to others? Yes, I can, but it will entail a lot of practice and preparation.
Is Writing A Skill Or Talent?
I am a man of few habits. Scratch that, I am a man of few good habits. Reading is the most productive of those habits. Reading whatever I can, when I can [e.g., articles on Medium on commute]has improved my knowledge, affected my perspective and busted a few assumed myths, even about writing.
I believed that you are either born a great writer or not. You need to be innately talented to be a successful author. I wasn’t blessed with the talent of writing or any other artistic abilities.
I’ve always thought of myself as a data drive, a rational & non-creative person (roughly translated to dull, drab, uninteresting) and thus not apt at painting, drawing and you guessed it, writing. I mean I can write to communicate, but storytelling or anything artistic or creative is not for me. I cannot take a blank sheet of paper and turn it into a swan, or even imagine a swan. For me, the swan does not exist.
Problems Spark My Creativity
However, when faced with difficulties or challenges, I discovered I am capable enough to come up with original solutions. For me creativity is a hidden function, it only turns on when faced with a crisis.
Writing 50K words in 30 Days to me, was a problem. I have written more in these 30 days of November than I have ever in my life. I did not go “Ohh, but I am so dull and unartistic and uncreative, how can I tell a story.” No, the days I did sit my ass on the chair, my fingers just went pounding, threatening to wipe the print of my keyboard.
Now I think maybe talent may not be a significant factor. If I could do a NaNoMo every month instead of once a year and fail every month, I’d still have a half-cooked completed novel I can edit and get ready to be published.
It will require planning, preparation, and practice.
Anyone can learn to ride a bicycle, but not everyone wins Tour De France. Can I then excel at writing if I develop my writing skill just like any other skill?
Stage 1: Preparation
I could learn driving by getting in a car and probably crashing it or take driving lessons first. Likewise for writing. I could keep hammering at my screen make a hundred mistakes and learn on the job. Or I could take a class. I could learn about writing as I practice. What is a story outline? How to write one? What is character development? I could learn them now.
I do not know if authors enroll for courses or workshops to sharpen their skill. I would assume so since most skills tend to be perishable. “Sharpening the Saw” is what comes to mind. I came across this wonderful Creative Writing Course on Coursera. I think I will enroll for an Audit course and see where things go.
Any skill can be developed with education and deliberate practice.
If writing is a skill I do not see a reason why I should fail to be a better writer.
Accountability & Fear Of Failure:
Mariah Avix pointed out how accountability and fear of failing (publicly) can be an excellent motivation for getting things done. I think I should use them as a tool to complete the first course I’ve enrolled for.
It is the first day of 2017. I do not want to go overboard with goal setting & planning. For now, I am going to uni-task. Enroll for the course and take it one day at a time.
P.S: If you’ve already taken the course, no spoiler alerts, please. Let me discover the joy or feel the anguish depending as I gradually learn from this course.
If you are planning on taking the course or have already enrolled, let me know. We can have our own secret meetings and help each other out 🙂