Writing as a Journey

It’s dawned on me as I work on various projects of my own (short stories, novel in progress), that writing is a journey. I was speaking with two writer friends about this the other day. First you write to entertain yourself. There’s all these ideas, and you have to get them out on paper. And pretty much, I think all first drafts, regardless of where you are on the path, are to entertain ourselves.

But then, and this is the harder part, you start to think about the reader. How do you get them to “see” what you do? So you find a critique group. You take their feedback and start to apply it to your own work. And some people stay here. They go to critique group, sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. Or, they try to listen but aren’t sure how to apply it.

If you keep to the path, it seems then you find craft books or a mentor. You start reading, or meeting with the mentor (or both) and see things in a new light. You innovate, you try again, and sometimes you pick up another piece of the puzzle. You find new critique partners. And you keep trying, even when you think you’re never going to be any good.

And if you keep going, you see how to triage the draft, and how to fix it even before your critique partners do. When you bring it to them, it’s for the stuff you know you don’t know yet. And you keep going along the path. Much like driving, you just have to see the next few feet in front of you to get to the destination, if you’re willing to commit to the work.

Wherever you are in this journey, don’t give up. It’s worth it. I promise.

It’s so much worth it, after hard reflection, I’m not going for my Ph.D. in Instructional Design. I’m not going off on wild goose chases that pull me away from writing. And neither should you. Keep working, keep learning, keep growing!

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