You Have to Work on Your Craft

15 Flares Twitter 11 Facebook 2 LinkedIn 1 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 1 Email -- 15 Flares ×

The tortoise and the hare.If you’re a writer, you have to work on your craft. You have to learn the mechanics. You have to study language and dialogue. You have to read other people’s work – both the classics and the contemporaries. You have to develop what Dean Young calls a “critical sensibility” that guides how you read and write.

You must do those things. If you don’t, you’ll never improve. You might even be questioned if you really are a writer. You can say you’re a writer until you’re blue in the face (to use a cliche), but the proof is in the work, no matter how long it takes to complete that work. The time frame is unimportant. What is important is steadily working toward something, not being content with what is but striving for more.

If you don’t challenge yourself with your craft, you risk not only a lack of growth but also stagnation. You’ll plateau, but plateaus come to an end. What then? Will you tumble off the edge and break upon the rocks below or will you thrust yourself ever further into the unknown?

Not only that, if you aren’t growing, if you aren’t continually challenging yourself, you’re dying. Every time you choose to be content with your current level of ability is a step backwards. If you aren’t careful, you’ll eventually lose what ability you do have.

The trick with any talent is to use it. You can’t simply accept that you’re talented; that’s how the tortoise caught up to and surpassed the hare. No, to be a writer means that you do the hard work of the writer. You accept the responsibility that comes with the talent. You write and you read and you study and you write some more, and you do that again and again and again.

Image: Charlie Rapple (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

Trackbacks

  1. […] develop. Even then, I still labor over it because I don’t think my work is done. I have to keep working on my craft, and one of the ways I do that is through “borrowing” quotes as I’ve done with Gaiman’s. […]

  2. […] with writing. You can write every day, all day. It isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t pay attention to your craft. You’re simply going to make the same mistakes over and over again until those mistakes become […]

  3. […] enough to show up in a haphazard manner. It isn’t enough to take one day out of the month to work on your craft. It isn’t enough to send a text message every three weeks. You have to show up regularly. Not […]

  4. […] had to find my own way toward a sense of confidence. Have I found it? I don’t know, but I keep working on my craft and trust that the work will speak for […]

  5. […] You keep working, and your work improves. You start to feel some pride in it. You aren’t as hesitant to put the work online or in a portfolio. You know it’s good work, and you know it will get you more work. You know that even when the work is done voluntarily and with no expectation of pay. […]

  6. […] ability. Without those exercises, I wouldn’t understand the importance of self-discipline and working on my craft. I wouldn’t pay such careful attention to revision and […]

15 Flares Twitter 11 Facebook 2 LinkedIn 1 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 1 Email -- 15 Flares ×