Monday, May 11, 2015

Be humble and write your way to success


*Note: for clarity and brevity the male pronoun has been used in this post.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or an established one, your writing can only get better by two obvious factors: writing as much as you can and being open to constructive criticism.

A lot of amateur writers make the mistake of not paying heed to feedback from fellow writers and/or mentors. Even when they’ve published some of their work (i.e., short stories, articles, novella, novel, etc.), they still need a support system.

A humble writer is a smart writer; he is more interested in honing his writing skills than tooting his own horn. Leave the ego at the door! Even great writers need an editor and a healthy dose of criticism from his peers.

Carver was known for his realistic portrayals of characters and his minimalist style. Nonetheless, Carver still needed an editor to bring his work to the next level. Remember, editors work hard to improve fiction, and as writers, you don’t want to get reputations of being difficult to work with. Although the story is indeed yours, you still want to put your best work out there. What good is it to write it if it’s not worth publishing it?

Ernest Hemingway also believed that writing in the euphoria of the moment (whether you're drunk or not) is advisable, but editing should be done when the ecstasy of writing has left you. Edit your work after you’ve taken a break from writing. If you can't edit your own work (for whatever the reason: lack of time, inspiration, or skills), ask a colleague to do it for you or hire a professional editor.
In conclusion, a good writer will not only write as often as he can but will also be open to constructive criticism. A good writer invests time in researching, writing, getting feedback, editing, and re-writing the piece (if necessary).

As Indian composer and singer-songwriter, A. R. Rahman said, "Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life. To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head."

11 comments:

  1. Another great posting for those wishing to better themselves in the art of the pen (or keyboard). I read your words and think, 'Hey, that makes such great sense - sounds easy', but is it heck!

    In terms of mental fortitude and output, I feel writing, be it creative or otherwise, is a very taxing endeavour.

    Thank you again for great advice :) x

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  2. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. You're a loyal reader and I appreciate it. Thank you! :-)

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  3. Does this mean I now qualify for one of your loyalty cards entitling me to a free Mac?

    ;) x

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  4. So true. I always say that writers can't improve unless they admit that they have failings as writers. :-)

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    1. Hi Misha,
      Thank you for stopping by. I believe that true writers want to get better so they admit their flaws. Others (so-called writers) are too focused on their ego and not on their craft.

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  5. Just dropped by to see if you had any new posts up. This one was worth a reread. Nothing beats critique from other writers and also from people who may not write but do read a lot. Sometimes, you have to be thick-skinned, but I've received important insights from comments that first seemed harsh, but were really just the truth.

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    1. Hi Chris,
      So nice of you to share your comments.
      That's how I learned to improve my writing: listening to my mentors and fellow writers and not taking their comments "too personal". It's only in our best interest to get better, so why not be open-minded?

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  6. Just dropped by to see if you had any new posts up. This one was worth a reread. Nothing beats critique from other writers and also from people who may not write but do read a lot. Sometimes, you have to be thick-skinned, but I've received important insights from comments that first seemed harsh, but were really just the truth.

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  7. Straight to the point and simple for all to understand!
    And taking that 'break' before editing is a must - one needs a rest of the mind to be fresh in 'edit's' morning light.

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  8. Hi Royce,
    Especially taking a break! My mentor always told me, "put it in a drawer" and come back to it a few days later. :) It worked!

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