Let’s talk about writing.

Let’s talk about writing via math.

I’ve substitute taught to support myself. There have been more than several times that I’ve been shoved into a math classroom. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a student say: “I’m no good at math.” This statement usually a prelude to them giving up completely on the assignment I’ve just handed them. As if them not automatically knowing how to add fractions means they’ll never be able to do it.

Not surprisingly, I’ve heard people say: “I’m no good at writing.” Again, as a preamble to not writing. There are also people out there, perhaps some of you that visit this blog, that have tried their hand at writing, saw that it wasn’t good and stopped writing. To this I have to say…

What the hell are you doing? Don’t stop writing.

None of us come out of the womb as a Beethoven or a Shakespeare. Why would we want to be them anyway? Beethoven was deaf and died a pauper, and Shakespeare is only well known because his is the only writing we have available from the time period.

Obviously, I’m being sarcastic.

My point is this: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? PRACTICE.

Writing, like everything in the world, is a skill. It takes time and effort to get good at it. Yes, there are people out there that are naturally talented when it comes to writing, or anything, but even they are required to practice and edit. Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t naturally talented at writing. I like seeing my writing improve with the effort I put into it. There are many ways to practice. While I was in an MFA program one of the professors actually said, “You could lock yourself in a room and write for three years and be better at writing at the end of the three years.” I liked the MFA program because it exposed me to dozens of points of view and writing styles that helped me refine my writing, but it isn’t the only way to get those perspectives. The internet is a great resource, with many writing groups, both digital and face to face, to be found.

Here’s the takeaway: Just because you write one bad story doesn’t mean you should stop writing. The next story you write will be a little bit better, and the next a little better, and the one after that better still. Until, one day, you’re a good writer.

Until next time: Be yourself, be well. Write yourself, write well.