We writers spend a lot of time and money learning about writing. We consume innumerable books, magazines, and blog posts. We attend classes and conferences and webinars. But, underneath all this activity, all this reaching to outside resources, we know that the most important method to becoming better writers is simple: practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s important to read and analyze and learn from other writers, but at the end of the day, time spent practicing the craft of writing is time spent improving your writing—like any other skill.
But do we need to write every day? I think so. And I’ll bet you already do—though you may not credit yourself for it. Let me explain:
Over the years, I’ve had jobs that involved writing procedure manuals, technical manuals, letters, and thousands of emails. I’ve written curricula and lesson plans for a variety of subjects. I’ve written blog posts and articles. But I had difficulty finding time to write—really write. And by that, I meant creative writing—working on my novel, my memoir, my essays. As far as I was concerned, none of the other writing I did mattered.
Then, one day, I stopped compartmentalizing my writing and began to consider everything I wrote part of my practice. I began to pay attention to the quality of my writing, no matter what form it took, and to consider it worthy of artistic intention. As a result, my everyday writing began to improve, and soon that improvement began to spill over into my creative writing. My sentences became more concise, verbs gained strength, and the message (whatever it happened to be) increased clarity.
Plus—perhaps the greatest gift of all—I stopped beating myself up for “not writing,” because I was writing—a lot! When I began to credit myself for the thousands of words I wrote for blogs, lesson plans, and correspondence, the 500 words I managed to add to my memoir were appreciated rather than bemoaned.
I now have what I call a “writer’s attitude.” My intention is to write clear, well-crafted prose and poetry with impact—no matter the form or intended audience. I have a lot to learn and, yes, I still consume books and attend classes on writing, but something fundamental changed the day I decided to apply my craft to writing I had previously thought “undeserving.”
How about you? Do you credit yourself for the writing you actually do? And do you apply what you know of your craft to all your writing? Do you have a “writer’s attitude”? I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this subject.
And Don’t forget the 31 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Share your daily gratitude between now and December 31, 2012.