13 July 2012

Wading Through the Mire of Craft Information

Writers these days are so lucky to have the internet as a resource. Apart from the community it provides and the ability to submit quickly and cost-effectively, there is a huge amount of information about how to write. For any aspect of the craft, and from authors of all genres, you can find information to help you learn and grow as a writer.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming. There are so many great blogs out there, and soon you can feel queasy at just the sight of all the unread posts. You feel pressure to read it all, just in case you might miss some golden nugget which will help you make a great leap. But if you spend all your time reading about how to write, you might never get any actual writing done! (never mind all the other distractions online)

So how to prioritise which articles to read? I'm learning that I have to focus on where I'm at. Here's the secret: there is generally something being written about the topic you need, at the moment that you need it. If you need to learn about story structure at that point in time, don't waste your time reading (perfectly valid) articles on character development. When you need to round out your characters, there will be other articles at that time. If telling (not showing) is your problem, don't spend all your time reading about how to craft a compelling beginning. Just mark everything else as "read", or favourite some posts for later if need be, but make sure you are learning what you most need at that moment, and then go back to your writing.

For example, at the moment I'm about to plunge into my second draft, and then I'll be engaging critique partners (and seeking more). And wouldn't you know it, there have been articles popping up about editing checklists and the second draft specifically, as well as lots of links to critiquing websites. It's gold. And for now I need to focus on those things, and only skim the articles about things like query letters or writing sequels.

So focus your learning, and be assured everything else will still be there when you are ready for it.

1 comment:

  1. It's so important to never stop learning the craft. I love when things start to click.