The mechanics of writing are pretty simple: Write, edit, and write, and edit some more.
Pretty easy right?
Wrong. It is difficult. Very difficult. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing when you’re writing.
The reason it takes years for writers to become better writers is because they wander in the wind aimlessly with no clear vision as to what type of writer they want to be in their lifetimes. All writers want to be as famous as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or John Grisham or Neil Gaiman, but it seems none of them have a clear path for how to get there. Like a story, where one doesn’t have a clear ending.
The second reason writers take so long to become better writer’s is that they don’t know writing. They have a very rudimentary sense of what it is to be a writer, and though they read a lot and write a lot, they have no idea about what really goes into the writing. What devices authors use to create certain effects and how to wield those devices properly or in creative and inventive ways ( I struggle with this too, so I’m not attacking anyone).
The third reason, and probably the most obvious, is that they don’t do research. They don’t study the craft enough to advance themselves quickly. If one did research then what would normally take writers years to accomplish can be done in months because of the intense immersion the researcher has placed themselves in. Learning and understanding the creative devices of writing, learning how mistakes arise and how to fix them, and gathering and consolidating the tools they need to better themselves at the craft in general.
Sure, reading a lot and writing a lot is a good (great) start to your writing career, but that’s just not going to cut it. Not if you want to be a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman (especially if you want to be Shakespeare).
The driving factor of success in writing and any field is for one to understand the psychology of how it works. I once read something from Tony Robbins that said, “Business is 20% mechanics and 80% psychology” and I believe the same thing applies to writing.
Sure, read a lot and write a lot, but also incorporate studying the craft a lot, developing an understanding of what’s happening in a story as you read it, immersing yourself deeper into another author’s work to see the intricacies of what they created, learn to understand why you like certain characters, tropes, and archetypes. If you know what you’re doing (literally) then writing becomes that much easier and that much more fun.
Sure, researching will suck at first (the avoidance of research is why I started fiction writing in the first place) but the more you immerse yourself, the more fun it becomes. Be careful, research can become a form of resistance that keeps you from writing, what I suggest is you research a small to moderate amount of information consistently over a prolonged period of time, giving your brain a chance to process and incorporate info into its working memory.
This is what great writers do, they study the craft and constantly improve on their ability to tell a story. They also understand their own writing so thoroughly that they don’t need editors anymore (only the really great ones, really. The rest get one bestseller and think they don’t need editors when they really do).
Well, as always, that’s my spiel on the subject.
Till next week. . .