This week we have author Mickey J. Corrigan talking about The Art and the Craft of Writing. And she has a new release, The Ghostwriters.
The Art and the Craft of Writing
Mickey J. Corrigan
Most writers fall in love with the act of writing. It's an art form, a kind of emotional release, a wonderful freedom, and a seductive practice. You sit at your desk and your thoughts and visions turn into something tangible that can be shared. A story, a memoir, a novel. It's magical, being so creative. You invent worlds, make up scenarios, revise your own history, change how people see you and your life. You insert your memories, your personal philosophy. You exorcise your demons. You are the driver and the map of your journey is infinite, the pathways and destinations yours to choose. There are no rules of the road, except the ones you devise for yourself. While writing, you lose time, forget your problems, and live a separate life, immersed in the creative process.
After the art is done, however, there's more work to do. Once you've created your draft, that's when the craft of writing must come into play. Structure, clarity. Grammar, punctuation. Plot, character development. Will readers be able to visualize what you are telling them, can they understand exactly what you wish to convey? What should you do to ease their entry into your world?
I'm a writer and an editor so my opinion on this matter comes from working both sides of the aisle, as they say in Congress. I want my freedom, but I don't like the chaos of anarchy. I need to be able to understand a writer's words while I am being seduced into believing their story. I love art, but I appreciate how much craft is required before it can be enjoyed by others.
The time it takes to turn a piece of art into a publishable manuscript can be off-putting, even to a seasoned writer. Six months, a year, many years can be spent honing that spark of creation into a readable book. Then there's hunting down an agent, finding a publisher, getting feedback from your editor, marketing. It's enough to ruin all the fun.
Sometimes it does just that.
But the way I look at it is this: writing is fun, editing is hard work. Both are necessary before you have a final result. If you are writing for yourself, you are journaling or exploring. If you are writing for others, editing is required.
I am often asked by potential clients to edit early work. Often they will give me a first draft. They think they cannot fix it and need help. What they need, however, is to take a class on writing. Or to attend a writers conference with workshops that show you how to turn art into commerce. Because that's the next step in the process. Novice writers sometimes get stuck after step one, the creative process. They want to hire out step two, the craft. And jump right to the final step in the process: publishing.
Real writers learn the craft of editing their work. They appreciate what it takes to reshape and remodel a creative endeavor into a polished piece of art. When clients tell me they want to be writers, I encourage them to keep working on their draft. Come back later, when it needs less. After they have spent time on developing their craft.
Mickey J Corrigan on the web: