Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's A Forever Thing!

Anyone who is a regular reader here knows that I push reading in a big way. So, when I spot a poster quote about reading, as well as writing, I save it. The one above grabbed my attention, but especially the last two words. Take a good look at them. self-chosen ignorance. Those words cover more than reading.

Writers need to be self-educators. As Confucius tells us here, we are the ones to blame for some of our ignorance or failing to grow in whatever field we deal with. Let's look at a couple of writers who are figments of my imagination but ones who have many real-life partners dealing with life the same way.

A.  Susabelle dreamed of being a writer for a long time. She went to a writing workshop in her local community and finished the day with dreams of making it big. She wrote story  after story. As soon as she finished one, she'd send it off to the first magazine editor she found online. Each time, the story bounced back to her or she never heard a word. I just have to get more experience, write more stories she told herself. And so she did. Back came the stories, sometimes with nothing more than the editor saying they could not use it but occasionally an editor wrote a short note telling Susabelle what was wrong with the story. They don't know a good story when they see it! she thought. More workshops came along, but Susabelle had been to one and gotten the writing basics. She didn't bother to attend any others. She didn't read any articles or books about writing. She didn't network with other writers. She continued to receive rejection after rejection. 

B. Greg dreamed of being a writer. He'd dabbled in the field a bit and he attended the same workshop that Susabelle went to. He also went home and tapped out story after story, then he researched the markets and sent his work to editors. Most of the stories came back but he also had a few successes. How could he have more acceptances he wondered. He realized early on that he needed to learn more about this writing world to become a better writer. Greg attended more workshops. He checked out books about writing from his local library. The ones he liked best, he ordered from his local bookstore or online. He read them more than once. He networked with other writers. He continued to write but he kept his stories in a file and periodically went back to edit and revise before sending them to an editor. His successes far outweighed his rejections as time went on.

Susabelle showed that self-chosen ignorance while Greg did what he could to grow as a writer. The key here is that we all have a choice. We can try to wing it all on our own or we can find ways to educate ourself so that we become more successful writers. It's up to each one of us. Susabelle's way is by far the easier way while Greg's is one that requires a lot more of him personally. We all eventually learn that very little in this world comes easily. We have to work at it. We have to educate ourselves. We have to persevere in both.

I hope you'll choose to educate yourself as a writer in whatever way you can. Take advantage of every opportunity to do so. We don't reach a certain place in our writing journey and stop learning. It's a forever thing!

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