Have you ever thought, “I could write a better book?” as you read your latest book? If this sounds familiar, it could be a sign you possess the drive to be writer. The question is, do you have the perseverance too?
Writing fiction is like creating fine art. Or like a chef creating a ten course degustation menu. Or like the determined Olympic athlete.
Did the Michelangelo sculpt David in a few months? No. It was 2 years. And he was only 26. So young? Let that be proof … age should never be a barrier to talent. However, does a Michelin star chef say, “I’m going to open a Michelin-starred restaurant,” and overnight expect success? No. The journey can be decades. How about the athlete? Will training an hour a week cut the grade? Will talent be enough? If it is enough, if this does happen, I’m yet to hear of it. Please correct me, if I’m wrong. Although decades of learning is a rule, it’s a rule made to be broken.
Writing too requires more than just “writing”. Everyone was taught to write in school. To express ourselves. And yet, more is required of a fiction writer. More than mere expression. A writer needs to know an endless list in order to craft an entertaining novel. They need to understand basics of grammar, genre, how to flesh out a character (if character driven), how to plot a plot (if plot driven), then there’s things like ‘show-don’t-tell’ (which goes against the grain of the way we were taught in school), subtext, dialogue, point of view, foreshadowing, worldbuilding, conflict, subplots and voice. Just to touch on the major points.
Does this happen quickly? No. Not usually. Don’t get me wrong, all writers need to all shoot for a great novel first go. But writers need to utilise the tools available to them. To learn as fast as they can. Is it an easy apprenticeship? You tell me… talking to fictional characters (in our heads or aloud), battling isolation, forever questioning the crap you’re spewing onto the page (or keyboard) – sometimes for years. Is it worth it?
Who will write the next Harry Potter? Honestly, writers are more likely to sprout pink hair. But that doesn’t mean they can’t try. Someone will. That doesn’t mean a writer should stop writing, shouldn’t believe they’re writing the next Harry Potter (or whatever book you admire). A writer needs to forever learn. A writer needs to write like they’re writing the next Harry Potter. A writer needs to persevere.
For me, that perseverance involves typing with three fingers on my left hand (I’ve improved, it used to be one finger). Next time you want a challenge, try figuring out how you do a capital ‘P’ with one hand, lol! Only a love for writing and a love for creating keeps me on track. May a similar love guide every writer. And next time you think, “I could do better?” Ask yourself, do you possess the perseverance needed to finish that book?