Detours Along the Artist’s Way

“Writers really take their worst shellacking from other writers.”
E. B. White (On Writing [1990])

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog. I don’t have any good excuses, so I won’t bother to try to make up any. I have been properly chastized, and I promised that I would try very hard to post something at least three times a week, even if I have to resort to taking a quotation from one of my books and working from that.

I have been editing the first draft of “Building Baby Brother” based on feedback from the people who have read it. I forgot how hard I fight the process of starting to edit a story. (This one is particularly problematic because I received conflicting opinions on the best way to handle one item in the story.) Once I get started, I’m fine. It’s a lot like many writing projects, though. I remember reading or hearing an interview several years ago with a writer who said that her house was never cleaner than when she was avoiding the start of a writing project. A lot of writers I know suffer from the same syndrome. One theory is that if you never get it written, it never gets criticized. I can understand that.

Which is why I tend to avoid formal writing classes, workshops, and groups. I have received some useful feedback from these, but more often than not, I have found them more frustrating than productive. My primary goal when writing is to just tell a good story. I figure that the majority of readers will judge that far above any clever use of metaphor or deeply symbolic imagery. I’m not saying that these things aren’t important to a story. It’s just that I’ve found that a lot of “serious” writers get so caught up in the trappings of the writing, that the story seems to become secondary. Those other elements are important, but I’ve seen too many stories come out of writing classes that are mostly style and very little substance. I know some readers appreciate those types of stories, but they’re not my style.

That’s it for this time. Time to get back on the path.

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