Monday, February 26, 2007

Writing by Numbers

Writers spend a great deal of time learning the craft of writing. I’ve been a student of writing craft for almost 3 years now. While it is true that we must master the craft to become good writers, we will never be published beyond our wildest dreams if we neglect the art of the written word.

When I think of art, I think of painters. You may think of art in terms of music, or dance but I think of painters. When Lee and I were on our honeymoon in beautiful downtown Louisville, we took the time to visit the Speed Museum. No, it’s not a place for racecar fans. It’s where Monet hangs from nearly every wall. We spent hours there, studying the great's and over and over we asked one another, “How did they do that?” Most of them did it by studying the craft from the masters who came before them and as writers we do the same thing. But, if all the masters did was copy the craft, their work would look much like one of those paint by numbers paintings we did as children. So how did Monet create paintings that are distinctly Monet?

Stanislavsky said it best…Use everything in your life to create your art. Monet used everything. What he knew of life in the real, and what he knew of life in the surreal. He took his craft and created art. As writers this is what we must strive for.

We cannot simply use the craft, or our work comes out reading like a write-by-numbers little book. We must take our craft and add to it our life. We must use every single thing we know about life and create characters and places that are as alive as we are. If we fail to do that, we may still be published but the dream of being a great author will forever elude us.

Sit down today and write. But don’t just write-by-numbers. Paint the words onto your paper, and let your life force flow.



madhatter said...

nice piece, Gwanny, m'dear. Well said. All true!

Cheryl said...

Your wisdom never ceases to amaze me. When I think you have shared your most profound thoughts with us, you post your next entry and it blows me away.

Every word of what you say is true. I hope I have the smarts to put it into practice.