SOME OF YOU
may have noticed the Steinbeck quote to the right of this blog. Those who know me may think it is a reference to the book manuscript I’m still rewriting, always rewriting. In fact, I have several pieces that I return to over and over. They never seem to be finished.
This month I participated in a seminar at the Hub City Writer’s Workshop. Writer-in-Residence Akwaeke Emezi did a wonderful job talking to us about revision. She confessed that she was mortified when rereading her early work. Fiction workshop leader Marlin Barton remarked that he never read his published novels or short stories. He would want to rewrite them all! These writers had gone far beyond were they were. They are much better writers now than then.
That’s what the Steinbeck quote means to me. As a writer I am always learning my craft, always developing voice, always practicing the art. As I learn I become a better writer; as I become a better writer, I become more aware of how much I have to learn. It’s a never ending circle, like a wedding ring. Another quote that stuck in my head when I was a teen is from the Agony and the Ecstasy: “Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.” A little melodramatic maybe but it is from Irving Stone, after all. And it makes the same point for me as Steinbeck. No matter how much natural talent you may have, dedication to craft is required. Forever.
Participating in writer’s conferences, finding the right critique group, reading writing blogs and books on writing all contribute to my continuing education and invigorate me as a writer. And so, happily, I will never be finished.
Though, hopefully, someday my manuscript will be.