Pulitzer prize-winning author, Richard Rhodes on writing...
Writing is a craft. Its primary function is communication. I mean "craft" strictly: like carpentry or pottery, writing is handmade.... The best way to learn is by doing - and thinking about what you're doing while you're doing it. You wouldn't expect to make superior pottery the first time you sat down at a wheel. People often assume they know how to write because they know how to speak. There are deep and important connections between spoken and written language, but they're not the same thing. If you think they are, tape a conversation and transcribe it verbatim and see how it reads. Better to imagine that you'll be writing in a foreign language of which, at the outset, you know only a few words and only the rudiments of syntax.
I love this pottery analogy, because it reminds me of the parable of the Potter's House. Jerehmiah learns that God is sovereign and in the exercise of his sovereignity he is just and unconditional.
And I thought. Could this analogy also relate to writing also? Does God reign supreme over our writing?
I hope so.
But then I fear what if he does? Am I allowing him to work or is my laziness, my fear of going broke in this writing thing, my urge to see my name on a bound book keeping God from doing his work?
When I don't turn in my monthly writing workshop assignment am I setting God back on his creation?
I hope not.
But if I am, then I can't argue with the notion that writing is a craft that I need to study to show my self approved to the Lord.
Few people know that I am a landscape painter. My works have appeared in art galleries. I remember an Interior Designer called me after one of my exhibitions a few years back. She wanted to purchase a piece for a client. She said my work was great, because it didn't look artsy. Well, Great. I thought. That was the point. I wanted to invite a viewer in to my space, this colorful garden that I created and stay a while. As a fiction writer, I hope to do the same. But just as it took me years of study and practice from understanding different painting techniques, brush strokes, the difference between horse hair and plastic, to critiquing my classmates art. It was a process I needed, in order to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish as an artist. Therefore, craft is important to me. I hope it becomes important to you.
Writing to see what the end's gon' be,