According to Aristotle, if you want to be good at something, do it repeatedly. And do it well.
As a writer, I’m always searching for ways to improve. Thankfully, some of the best writers, being the wordsmithers they...er...were, made sure to put thoughts to paper regarding the craft.
- “Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.” -John Steinbeck. Great advice for those of us who spend hours staring at a blank page because we want the thing to be perfect before we even start.
- “Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one.” - F Scott Fitzgerald. If you want to write a blog, a book or even a letter, sit down, mentally wash away the world around you, and, in the words of Nike, just do it.
- “Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.” -Neil Gaiman Reading something with fresh eyes is essential in revision.
- “[Be] Submissive to everything, open, listening.” - Jack Kerouac. Be observant to sounds and events. Mentally narrate what you hear when your cereal hits the bowl in the morning, or what you think the couple at Starbucks a few tables over are discussing. Material is everywhere; so find material in everything.
- “A writer, like an athlete, must ‘train’ every day. What did I do today to keep in ‘form’?” -Susan Sontag. Journaling every day is one of my goals. If not in the morning, than when I come home from work. I don’t do much premeditation. I just...start.
- "A blank piece of paper is an unfamiliar road, a pen the method of transportation." - Kate Burkhardt. I truly have no place rubbing elbows with any of the names above, even in a list. But one of the most mysterious aspects of the craft lies in the fact that writing to me is as much of a task as exploring the mountains in Yellowstone or a reef a mile out from shore. It's not something I have to do, it's something I get to do.