Please don’t tell my daughter that when she practices playing the violin I have these crazy images that float through my mind. It is really important for her to practice even if it reminds me of cats in heat or animals being slaughtered.
You can’t tell her that because it would hurt her feelings and she wouldn’t practice. That would be bad for a million different reasons not the least of which is because I stress the importance of practice in everything.
It is why I participate in Just Write and Yeah Write each week.Â They are two of my favorite writing communities because they serve multiple roles and I see them as being part of my writing exercises.
How Do You Become a Better Writer?
How do you become a better writer is a question that I think about often because writing is my craft, my art and my love. It is a place that always feels like home to me and I would be diminished were I ever to give it up.
Practice is important to me because I hate when potential is unrealized. When I think about my biggest fears one of them is to let myself and others down by not living up to my potential.
I might not ever play for the Dodgers or the Lakers but I can become the novelist I have dreamed of. I can become the writer that people want to read.
So when I ask the question about how to become a better writer it is for both selfish and altruistic reasons.
Books and Movies
I try to read a lot of books and watch a healthy chunk of movies. I devour magazines and newspapers and dip my nose into dictionaries.
Stories are a big part of my world and the life I am trying to create. I want to be able to tell lots of them. I want to be able to sit down and know I have a hundred that I could recite and a hundred more that I could just make up.
It is part of why I have multiple blogs and why I sometimes ask you to go visit them. The comments on my stories help me figure out whether they are good tales that are of interest or things people hate.
One day I’ll give my children the keys to my blogs and invite them to pull a dusty tome off of the shelves and learn something about their father that they might not know.
Writers Need Egos & Thick Skin
It helps to have an ego and to believe that people want to read what you can or will write. It helps to have a thick skin too because some people will read your words and tell you that you are an ignorant, no talent jerk who ought to be forced to live in cleveland or Detroit.
Your ego will be bruised and abused but if you believe in yourself you will keep going.
Blogging helps with all of this. It helps provide a place to practice your writing and a place to practice developing the thick skin you need.
I want to be a good role model for my kids. I want them to see how much time I spend practicing but it is hard to do that in a way that doesn’t take time away from them. It is hard to show them how many hours I have put in here and to do so in a way that doesn’t mean they are ignored.
My kids are a big part of why I write. They helped me remember who I really am and what I really want to do.
They are why I started calling myself a writer again, but I continued doing so because of me.
I continued because sometimes names and labels have power and I would wield it to serve my needs.
I am Jack and I am a writer.