As I often do, I'm responding to a subscriber query recently about the type of writing advice I offer in my courses and Kindle books.
First of all I should state - again - for the record, that I believe the most surefire way of improving your writing is simply to write.
Studying is one thing.
I try my hardest to offer good advice on genre requirements and writing style to make it easier for the writer to compete in the marketplace and get published.
What I don't do is force you to study other writers and how they go about what they do.
I think to focus too heavily on how a particular author or three get their results is to slightly misunderstand the point of studying writing.
If you take a tertiary degree in order to study writing, you will be presented with lots of theories as to how writers go about creating stories and all the options available to a writer trying to emulate them.
But to me this is counter-intuitive.
Just because you have analyzed how Dickens or Conrad or Stephen King have achieved the final draft of their manuscripts, the knowledge doesn't necessarily help you when drafting your own stories or books.
Writing is a process.
Analyzing the final product tends to leave you in awe - and intimidated - when you should realize that a lot of changes and rewriting went on in order for the final product to look and seem so effortless.
That doesn't mean it was easy for the author, or that they didn't make lots of mistakes along the way - of course they did.
Nor does it mean that you shouldn't attempt to write something just as good.
When Robyn and I write books and get them published, we're often amazed at how different - and how much better - the final drafts are to our first efforts.
This is the process.
Writing is first of all about getting your thoughts down on paper. Then it's about clarifying those thoughts into a coherent argument - whether it's fiction or non fiction.
Next it's about polishing.
Then it's about submitting to publishers (or movie producers!).
Then it's about rewriting, changing your writing to suit others and your readers.
What writing to me is NOT about is studying the greats over and over only to beat ourselves up into thinking that great writing is beyond us.
The purpose of the Easy Way to Write is to inspire you to get involved in the process of writing - and learn to enjoy it - and learn more as you progress and improve, based on feedback from the real world, not some classroom type environment.
Studying classic writers, while sometimes illuminating (once you know the terms of reference), should not be the focus of a working, or even aspiring writer.
Studying is for students. Writing is for writers.
Curiously, when certain (probably one in a thousand!) writers complain to me and say I haven't given enough in depth analysis of a particular topic, I ask to see examples of their work so that I can give them more specific, in depth advice on their own work.
Guess what happens to these students that prefer to study than to write?
They find writing too hard - and don't have anything to show me.
I don't want this to happen to writers.
I want them to come to the Easy Way to Write and feel encouraged, inspired, energized and raring to write.
That's what the Easy Way to Write is all about.
Your Success Is My Concern
Your Success Is My Concern