1. The process of writing means more to me than the finished product.
I’ve gone back to reading several of my old works. Admittedly, some pieces are cringeworthy; others still resonate true today. This comes as no surprise, really. The familiarity of what I’m reading allows me to bypass the story and concentrate on elements of craft. I see things differently than when I first published in 2011.
When I was a non-writing reader, the rules of grammar and punctuation only came to light if I saw an obvious error. Poor sentence structure, the overuse of adverbs, word repetition, etc., were but fleeting impressions.
Now, I’m more focused on how a sentence can be improved upon. This is probably why writers are advised to read — a lot. We feed off and learn from the writing of better authors.
Although completion of a short story, novella, or novel is cause for celebration once it’s published, it is no longer mine. The process of writing is what is important from a learning perspective, and remaining attached to a story after it’s made public serves no purpose.
2. The more I write, the more I learn about others and the less I know about myself.
Writing fiction demands that I look at the world through the lens of others, to inhabit my characters in order write their stories.
By gaining insight into others, I’ve discovered how little I know about myself.
Allow me to explain.
Because I must expand my imagination to write fiction, I sometimes question if it is truly me who comes up with the stories. In the genre of mystery and suspense, I’ve researched by reading a lot of true crime. It’s not surprising I’ve filled my mind with some awful images. That I am also a news junkie only adds to the chaos inside my head.
It’s great for fiction, but not so good for maintaining daily calm.
To stay grounded, I meditate and do yoga. In meditation, all kinds of thoughts come up. I simply observe them, attaching neither good nor bad feelings toward them. Acceptance of these thoughts trains my mind to stay calm and be in the moment. This translates to a more easygoing manner outside of meditation, and hopefully, more awareness.
Yoga serves to strengthen my physical being, which is intimately connected to the mind.
To create believable characters, it’s necessary to nurture them to behave in a way that might be contrary to my own behaviour. The important thing is staying true to myself when I’m not in my fictional world.
3. Writing can be all encompassing.
Writing absorbs me when I’m “in the zone.” At these times, I don’t need food or sleep, and I avoid all distractions. My only purpose is to ride the creative wave for as long as it will take me and as far as it will go.
It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s an amazing feeling when it does.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from writing? Please feel free to share. 🙂