You get a new book to read because someone recommended it to you, or the cover just looks freaking awesome, or it’s a promising jewel you happened to stumble upon. It sits there in your lap eager to be read, but the cover, the title, the words splashed across the pages are meaningless. It’s just a book. Like all the other books taking up space on the bookshelf. But you open the cover and begin to read anyways, because it’s calling to you. There’s this pull to open it you can’t quite explain. So you do and you begin to read it.
Learning the Craft of Writing
Today marks the last day of November and the last day of my NaNoWriMo alternative challenge. My original goal was to complete 15,000 words on a work in progress novella called Fahrenheit, as well as to keep up with my two blogs and other writing. I also had a side challenge to write everyday and read everyday, something I had not been doing like I should the last several months. Did I reach my goals? Did I reach my goal of 15,000 words. Yes and No.
I say yes and no, because no I did not complete my 15,000 word count on the novella, but between writing on my blogs, other works and journaling I exceeded my word count to nearly 20,000 words in total, of which 5,895 words were on Fahrenheit. So though I did not do as much on my novella as I had liked, I did succeed in some manner. The most important thing I accomplish was writing and reading every day, which has made a big difference in my mindset of writing.
What do I mean by this? I have found my mind more open to ideas. The act of writing has become easier and I have become more aware of the world around me. In fact, this process has led me to a reflection of sorts and I have become more diligent of areas that need extra help and concentration. What had started as a challenge has become much more and I feel myself ripe with change.
I am reminded once again of the importance of challenging oneself and the unexpected benefits that occur. Though, the challenge may not have yielded the fruit I expected, I ended up with a better outcome than expected. I can ‘t wait to my next challenge and the surprises that it will hold. Until then I will keep up with the routine I have now and see where it leads me going into a new year.
Writing is a love affair of words and emotion, but there is also much more to it. There is a lot of work that is involved that includes perfecting craft, plot, character and much more. A writer’s journey never ends as he or she blazes the trail of art and soul. The further along that trail a writer travels, the more he or she realizes that perfection will never be achieved, only stages of good and bad writing; however, a writer can accomplish better writing by putting into practice two very important things. Are you ready for the most important advice you will ever get?
Does this sound familiar? It should, because that is the advice that all writers have received at one point or another in their interactions with other writers, taken writing classes, or read articles about writing. If you really want to learn better writing skills and habits, there is no better way than reading as much as you can and write as much as possible every single day.
This is easier said than done, because most people, like myself, live busy lives. Writing for some is a favorite past time or thing that they can do when all else is completed in the day. Schedules may already be at the max and adding more might be a stretch, but look closely and you might be surprised where some extra time can be made for writing and reading.
I challenge you to setup a schedule for the next month to see how much writing and reading you can possibly cram into each day. When that month is over I guarantee that your writing will have grown by leaps and bounds (I know this from experience from past writing challenges I given myself). I plan on taking part in an alternate NaNoWriMo challenge with this goal in mind. Join me with your own personalized challenge and see where it takes you!