Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Proof is in the Pudding

by Sheryl Tuttle

The other day I found myself sitting on a bench with my youngest daughter’s BFF (Best Friend Forever). We were watching my daughter take a karate lesson, which gave the BFF and me plenty of time to talk. First we talked about karate. The BFF asked about the progression of the karate belt colors, getting tips placed on the belts, and preparing for belt tests. Then, we talked about gymnastics and other activities. Eventually, I found myself telling BFF that you can do anything you want if you just practice, and that the only way to get better with something IS to practice.

Hmm. Sounds like good advice for a 40-something year old wanna-be writer too. Actually, good advice for a writer at any age.

You may be familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where participating authors from all over write a 50,000-word novel in one month. For me last November, it translated into a lot of writing, much more than my usual daily quota. It provided an opportunity for a lot of writing practice.

Shortly after NaNoWriMo, I wrote a short story that had been a plague to me for some time. Calling the story a struggle is like calling a tiger tame, but nevertheless, I finally got the story down and finished. Fairly pleased with the story, I put it out for feedback.

As always, I received some great suggestions from my writers’ group friends on ways to improve the story. But the most memorable comment was from my mom. She simply said that she liked the story very much, and she could see my improvement from when I first started writing.

Wow. It felt so good to hear that my ability at this craft of writing was improving!

It’s true in writing, as in everything else of life, the more we do something – the more we practice – the better we get. After a full month of dedicated writing on my novel, the short story I completed afterwards WAS better than my previous work. The proof is in the pudding.

Armed with this knowledge, I look forward to writing more and better stories. Keep practicing!


Gary Denton said...

I have to agree. My writing has improved ten-fold since joining the HFC. Keep at it!

T.C. said...

This is so true. I haven't been writing much lately and mentally, I feel my craft slipping away.

My youngest son is a classically trained musician. His instructor told him once, "If you don't practice for a day, you will notice the difference. If you don't practice for two days, I will notice the difference. If you don't practice for three days, your audience will notice the difference."

Practice, practice, practice.


Sheryl Tuttle said...

Gary - so true. I would imagine that improved writing is a side effect of belonging to a writers group (especially one like HFC!).

Theresa - I love the wisdom of your son's instructor. Thanks for sharing.

Ian said...

50,000 good words in a month is quite an achievement. Well done!

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Thanks Ian. I agree that 50,000 words in a month is quite an achievement and one that I am very proud of. My task now is to make it 50,000 GOOD words! lol. The re-write and editing has been excruciatingly slow because I so want to find only the good words.

Thanks for commenting. I stopped by your blog and find it very interesting. Good luck visiting 100 countries. Sounds like you're close!