Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Knowing and learning

The other day I sat down with my oldest son and we were going through his course selections for next year. He had picked all his core subjects and was looking at his options. He looked at Spanish and said, "I'd like to know a different language, but I don't want to have to learn it."

How often have we wanted something, but didn't necessarily want to put the work in to achieve it.

I would love to lose weight, but I don't want to have to exercise everyday.

I would love to be able to have a great corner kick or be able to juggle the ball 30 times in a row. (soccer terminology), but I don't want to spend the hours it would take to achieve that.

I would love to be able to write great plots, develop fantastic characters, and have witty dialogue.

Sometimes I would like to know how to do this without learning how to do them. I think it will just come to me naturally and you know what. It doesn't. I need to read books on point of view, passive voice, etc. I need to be reading books in the genre I write in. I need to write...

It sounds simple, but writing takes work. It takes learning, practice, and most of all patience. Most of my sentences are not perfect the first go around. Sometimes the plot doesn't work the first time and we write ourselves into a corner, but if we don't do it, if we don't try then we'll never succeed.

Right now I'm working on a better hook for my query. I've thought about it all week, but it wasn't until I actually tried to write the words down that I could play with the order or the word choice. I needed to see it on paper. I can't do that very well in your head. It's like a math question. I write it down before I have a chance to solve it.

So that's my challenge to myself. Read about how to write, read books, and write.

Have a good weekend.

15 comments:

Eternally Distracted said...

Great post and so true.. Wouldn't it be great if we could go to sleep one night and wake up the next day a master of all we want to be?!

The hard work and effort just makes it seem too distant. I have to start squash again today and I am currently thinking of a million excuses - although I still want to be skinny!!

Tina Lynn said...

This is exactly where I am. I need to be perfecting the craft. Now, how best to achieve that? That's the question of the day.

Carolyn V. said...

This is so true Patti! One has to work hard at something that is worthwhile. Even though it would be nice to have it happen without all the work. =)

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, great post! I am so with your son. Dying to be bilingual, but don't have the energy and patience required to learn another language!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I just ordered a writing book today to help me improve my own writing. We're thinking along the same lines. :-)

Abby Annis said...

I'm definitely guilty of expecting myself to be able do something perfectly without practice. But that arrogant expectation is often what gets me started on something, and it's so awesome when all that hard work pays off, and I finally do master it--whatever it happens to be. :) Great post!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh yes. I feel the weight one the most. There's so many things that I want, and some of them I work really hard for. So I know I can. It's just a matter of WANTING to.

Kasie West said...

So true. What a profound statement by your son. I feel the same way all the time. I actually feel the same way about a foreign language. :)

Heidi Willis said...

Wow! So profound! That's so true for me, too. People say you should do for work what you love, but I just didn't want to work so much I didn't love it anymore.

I'd love to be an expert in photography. I wish I could understand half of what's on some of the photography blogs and websites I read. But really, I start and then think, I really don't want to put that much work into it. I just want to take pictures.

Writing is like that too, except I want it more. And I want to work at it. Sometimes really working out the hook, the query, the synopsis, the plot, the character flaw...whatever... is hard so I skip over it and just try to write. But then I realize that putting that brain-wracking work in makes some of the harder things easy. So I do it.

Good luck! I hope you learn a ton, and have fun doing it!

Jessie Oliveros said...

oh yes, you remind me I should read another book on writing.

Jenn Johansson said...

I think most people are surprised at how much learning is required for writing a given book. Skill, craft, plot, character, description... and so many more, all on top of any research your actual storyline requires. Just thinking about it makes me tired. lol Naptime?

Melissa said...

You are exactly right! There are so many things we want in life, but if we're too lazy to do what it takes to achieve them, well we will never reach those goals. I need to remind myself of this daily:)

K. M. Walton said...

If you haven't already read them, these two books are my absolute favorite on the craft of writing:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing by Stephen King

Lisa and Laura said...

Hmm...I'd like to have my WIP write itself. It's all in my head, but I'm still looking for some kind of contraction that will download my brain directly into MS word.

patti said...

Boy, did you ever nail it!!!
I just submitted a proposal to agent, and she wants it redone!!!
Sigh. Thanks for writing this.

Patti