Sunday, January 15, 2012

Monday Musings: Time, Patience and Practice

Writing can be an ardous task. It takes time, patience and practice. I'm still practicing .That's why I am a daily blogger again. Some people are born with a natural talent for writing; some of us have talent that needs to be developed.

When I decided to take on the task of developing this skill, it was never my intent to go about with an air of haughtiness, saying things in my haughtiest of voices, like: "I am an author. I have published a bigillion books, therefore thou shalt bow down and worship the very ground upon which I tread." My journey into the world of writing is based on my passion and joy for the art itself.

I write based on the authors I read and admired as a younger person. Going further back, the high school literature teachers of my time not only taught the content of the piece we were studying, but also required - not encouraged - required the studying of the author themselves. That part of my education has stayed with me all these years. It has also created a picky reader in me. If I do not know anything about an author, it is likely I will not choose to read their works.

I also recognize, not every reader is like me. There are plenty of readers out there who could care less why authors write what they do, or how they are inspired, or why the subject of the work was chosen in the first place. They simply enjoy a good story. They may just enjoy something they can curl up with and get lost in another world, or a torrid love affair, or even take an adventure to far off lands.

As a writer, which has a different definition than author, I enjoy writing my blog, things that will never see the light of day, and working on the manuscripts for the books I will publish. I don't mind sharing bits and pieces of my life with my blog readers - even the not so pleasant pieces. Why? Because it allows them to have a greater understanding of the things that will eventually end up in the hands of the public; and in some cases lends credibility to the work itself.

In my first and only published novel, Sticks and Bones, the character, Marcia Grant, bears a great resemblence to myself. Many of the oddities about her personalty are strikingly like my own. Coincidence? I think not. I actually did work as a registered private investigator in my day, although I never had a desire to be a police detective, or work in law enforcement. I am a cold person in some regards. I keep my emotions in check most of the time. I separate work and personal life ninety-nine percent of the time. I had a cat, who was much like Marcia's cat, Mr. Murphy, in personality and even breed. Marcia's cat was named after the old Murphy's Law - not the TV show.

Currently, I am reading (studying), State of the Fantastic: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Fantastic Literature and Film. Selected Essays from the Eleventh International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts 1990. Edited by Nicholas Ruddick. Why am I reading this, insteading of pounding away at the keyboard to get my next work out there? As someone aspiring to be an author, I have some pretty high expectations for my next work. I am not a novel mill. I cannot, and will not, publish drivel, or poorly written - filled with grammatical as well as punctuation errors - garbage, to turn a dollar, at the expense of my readers. Sticks and Bones, is not the great American novel. However, it carries a message with it that was important to twenty-eight other people. Something they wanted, or needed the world to hear. It has received positive and negative feedback, which I have used both to improve my current work.

I am not a foremost authority on writing, or being an author. I hope my studying of the art of writing will someday bring some sense of enjoyment to readers worldwide. Until then, I will continue to take my time, exercise patience, and practice.