Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writers--A Work In Progress

‎"A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are thier way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen thier souls. Story-tellers and poets spend thier lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And thier words make the souls of thier readers stronger, brighter, and deeper."

-Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, quoted above, is a prolific author of novels, childrens' books, poetry, short stories and translations. This award-winning writer has a wide experience in the writing world which makes me pay close attention to what she said in this quote. I've highlighted the one sentence that truly stood out for me.

Ms. Le Guin states that writers care about words and they use them carefully. While that is true in the vast majority of cases, I fear that there are writers who do not put enough thought and fearinto the way they use words. Only by doing so can you show your work to the reading world with pride. 

That highlighted sentence was important to me in that it tells us that we're never done learning our writing skill or the art of using words well. As writers, we're a work in progress. Sometimes, we feel like we're stuck in a ditch with wheels spinning but eventually we pull out of the trap and get moving again. Look back at your writing life. How many ditches did you fall into? Better yet--how many did you leave behind? 

Writers get discouraged when success doesn't happen as soon as they'd hoped. Remind yourself that you are growing with each and every story, article, essay or poem you write. If you keep a file of all that you have written---start one immediately if you don't have one--take some time and read from the first to the last. If you're like me, you might blush a little at the quality of the first pieces you wrote. I see steady progess in my writing through the twenty years I've called myself writer. I hope, no, I know that my writing will continue to get better if I do what Ms. Le Guin says regarding using words with care, thought and delight. My soul, as she says, will strengthen and I hope my words will make the souls of  their readers stronger, brighter and deeper.

If you would like to learn more about Ursula K. Le Guin, check out her personal website.

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