I have a horrible writing habit. It’s just plain lazy, and my writer friends Kathleen Palm and Julia Donner tsk when they critique my work and say, “You can do better than ‘he shrugged,’ ‘she smiled,'” etc. And they’re right. But when I’m thinking about bringing scenes to life, and the scenes aren’t being very cooperative about it, sometimes tags and sentence structure are the LAST thing I think about. And sometimes, I obviously don’t think about them when I’m polishing either. Because, let’s face it, they’re there when my friends look at my work. And tsk.
I notice beautiful writing. I enjoy word play and clever sentences. Am I good at it? Only when I concentrate. And that doesn’t always happen. Mostly, I’m more anxious about getting my ideas on paper than on beautiful imagery, description, or language. BUT, I’m trying to change that.
For a while, I decided that if I read more poetry, flowing language would become natural to me. I’ve seen it work for some of my friends. But it didn’t happen for me. I tend to be a goal oriented person, and I think that shows up in my writing. I don’t want the words to get in the way. I’m trying to work on that, too.
Which is to say, sadly, that I’ve written for a long time, but I still, and probably will forever inspire to be better than I am now. Years ago, I had the deluded, happy thought that someday I’d learn all that I wanted to know about writing, and then everything I produced would match the quality standards I was hoping for. I can tell you, that hasn’t happened yet. I’m not sure it ever will. And for a long time, that bothered me. Now? I kind of like the idea. That means there’s always room to grow. And that’s okay for me. It would be nice to feel brilliant and sure of myself, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. So, when I start the next books I’m outlining right now, let’s hope my writing astounds you. And if it doesn’t, let’s just hope it doesn’t get in the way for the stories I’m trying to tell.