Today’s gem of a comment came from someone who suggested that I try not to write like everyone else, but that I write better.
Hmm…really? Do you think that every time I go to bed, I’m thinking, “Tomorrow, I will be great!”?
I didn’t start out thinking I was going to write better, okay? I started out to just write. Writing better only comes after years of trial and error, years of personal and professional experimentation. You just don’t get “better” by simply adopting someone else’s literary platform and hope the hell that you’ll come out strumming Mozart towards the end.
Nobody gets “better”. What we have to accept–as most people should (but don’t) is that you can’t force people to get better simply because you think that you know more than that person. You have to allow them the chance to grow unto their own, content to letting them make their own mistakes along the way–but please…
Don’t sit there and chew them out because they aren’t progressing at a faster clip than you’d like them to be.
It took me 25 years to get to this stage in my life as a writer. I didn’t have it any easier than anyone else who is a professor of their craft. I’m still learning some leftover odds and ends of my craft, but I can say that with confidence that I’m happy where I’m at.
I have no reason to rush the process.
If you’ve noticed anything about my writing so far, you’d see that not much has changed in retrospect. The flow and symmetry of the action and the characters still remain unchanged. The world-building techniques I employ also remain unchanged, and every other little nuance that goes into my work has remained…unchanged.
I still approach my writing like every other project to date: I take a long and leisurely arc that encompasses everything there is about my craft. I do not skimp on the details, likewise, I don’t skimp out on the action, and I don’t skimp out on the characters.
But getting better? That will take time. Nothing happens overnight. I’m quite content where I’m at right now. If someone has a problem with the way I write, please say so. If there is a glitch in my writing processes, let me know. If there’s something that bothers you about the way I write, tell me.
Don’t hold back.
What gets my goat–and still does–is how people are telling me how I should be writing. How I should carry out my action scenes and dialogue, character creations, and so on.
Nothing I write seems good enough for them. And these aren’t publishers or agents. But regular people who think they are better writers than me, but are equally frustrated by the fact that they aren’t any further along than I am right now.
Just today, I helped someone improve on descriptive prose by drawing out a few elements to make her story flow better. This was only possible because I knew what was needed to make the sample piece stronger.
This is the end result to years of personal experience as a writer. I can now easily see the mistakes a newbie writer makes because I was once that newbie.
I was once there not too long ago: Green behind the ears, not sure of myself, but having plenty of imagination and creativity, but having no suitable place to put it.
As I said, it took me years to progress. Writing isn’t a contest to see who can outwit the other. This isn’t a showmanship game where the victor goes all the spoils.
This is about letting each of us progress along our own paths at a natural pace. I could spend the next 25 years writing and rewriting my books until the cows came home. But I wouldn’t be accomplishing much–except to try and garner everyone else’s personal approval in the meantime.
Nothing would be published, because everything’s in a state of limbo. I would be fucking miserable because I’m trapped between my own instincts and people’s demands for absolute fealty to the mainstream industry.
I came out with 14 new novels last year, started writing on a few of them. And you know what I found?
No change at all. My writing still comes out the same away it’s always come out for the past nine years now since my last “ascension”.
Of course, I’ve tried to write my books in other ways–thinking that if I was smart enough I could outwit everyone and be vindicated. Turns out, all of my careful “experimentation” served only to cheapen my writing and denigrate my skill level.
But writing better only comes after years more of writing and learning experience. For right now, that time isn’t here. What I’ve been writing, what I’ve been posting is all there is.
If it’s not good enough for you, then perhaps you should lower your expectations or standards of writing and come at it from a different perspective. I can’t change who I am until I am ready to change. Such a transition cannot be prematurely forced for the sake of political correctness or social engineering.
Like writing, it takes time. What’s here on my blog reflects my passion and skill for writing. I’m giving back what I’ve learned to the community at large–even if there are some circles that don’t appreciate the gesture.