I’ve started working on a couple fiction projects and one thing has become clear; my writing skills need improvement. I still believe in my story ideas but I’m coming to realize I need solid writing skills to get my stories into people’s imaginations.
I’ve already started the process and it feels like trying to swallow an ocean of information. For one, there’s a great deal to learn about writing; especially when it comes to fiction. Secondly, I have this absurd desire to learn all of it immediately.
The first problem is something I can handle; I’ll just have to make myself go over some of the sections a few times until I get the concept. The second problem is a different story.
I want my fiction writing to be great right now and don’t want to wait for it to develop. While anything worth doing takes time and practice, accepting that in my heart isn’t easy. A friend recently explained how John Grisham took years to write his first book and those words saddened me instead of giving me the intended encouragement.
My response came from my obsession with the end result. I want to have the end in sight and know how I’m going to get there. The idea of working on a single project for years frustrates me because I don’t have nearly enough patience.
Most of my friends and family would tell you I’m a patient person. They’d be referring to my relative patience towards them and not my complete lack of patience with myself. I often criticize myself because I’m not at the skill level or place in my life I want to be.
To build up that patience it will take constant reminders, a few deep breathes, and a good attitude.
I’ll have to remind myself that I’m at the beginning of a journey and refresh myself with the excitement of that truth. When I hit roadblocks or make big mistakes, I’ll need deep breathes to calm down instead of letting my emotions take control. Finally, I’ll need the attitude of someone who doesn’t know the end of the story.
I’m unsure if I’m capable of all three and whether they will give me the patience I need; I’ll just have to wait and see. For now, I’ll just enjoy the simple pleasure of learning.
The first lesson I really enjoyed came from learning the ‘show instead of tell’ method. The basic idea is to use things like dialogue and quick scenes to bring characters, cultures, and the world to life instead of just explaining them to the reader. With this method, I give the reader just enough information to engage their imagination and then keep moving in the story.
I’ve already started employing this method and seen a difference; it flows better and makes the characters feel more natural. It’s possible I’m even overusing this new method but I’ll find a happy medium eventually. A good student recognizes they don’t have all the answers and subsequently feels more patient towards themselves.
I’ll just have to remind myself of that tomorrow and all the following writing days.
When was the last time you enjoyed the simple pleasure of learning? Do you struggle to have patience with yourself? What could you do to improve that patience?
Image Copyright: Maria Michelleby