Blogtalk: A Writer’s Attitude

by Amber Lea Starfire on December 5, 2012

Picture of Bridge to Writing

We writers spend a lot of time and money learning about writing. We consume innumerable books, magazines, and blog posts. We attend classes and conferences and webinars. But, underneath all this activity, all this reaching to outside resources, we know that the most important method to becoming better writers is simple: practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s important to read and analyze and learn from other writers, but at the end of the day, time spent practicing the craft of writing is time spent improving your writing—like any other skill.

But do we need to write every day? I think so. And I’ll bet you already do—though you may not credit yourself for it. Let me explain:

Over the years, I’ve had jobs that involved writing procedure manuals, technical manuals, letters, and thousands of emails. I’ve written curricula and lesson plans for a variety of subjects. I’ve written blog posts and articles. But I had difficulty finding time to write—really write. And by that, I meant creative writing—working on my novel, my memoir, my essays. As far as I was concerned, none of the other writing I did mattered.

Then, one day, I stopped compartmentalizing my writing and began to consider everything I wrote part of my practice. I began to pay attention to the quality of my writing, no matter what form it took, and to consider it worthy of artistic intention. As a result, my everyday writing began to improve, and soon that improvement began to spill over into my creative writing. My sentences became more concise, verbs gained strength, and the message (whatever it happened to be) increased clarity.

Plus—perhaps the greatest gift of all—I stopped beating myself up for “not writing,” because I was writing—a lot! When I began to credit myself for the thousands of words I wrote for blogs, lesson plans, and correspondence, the 500 words I managed to add to my memoir were appreciated rather than bemoaned.

I now have what I call a “writer’s attitude.” My intention is to write clear, well-crafted prose and poetry with impact—no matter the form or intended audience. I have a lot to learn and, yes, I still consume books and attend classes on writing, but something fundamental changed the day I decided to apply my craft to writing I had previously thought “undeserving.”

How about you? Do you credit yourself for the writing you actually do? And do you apply what you know of your craft to all your writing? Do you have a “writer’s attitude”? I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this subject.

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And Don’t forget the 31 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Share your daily gratitude between now and December 31, 2012.
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

patsy ann taylor December 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm

A pat on the back for the writing I actually do? Never thought about that. But what a good idea. I do write every night. The words may come out like a list of what I did during the day, what I shopped for, or what I ate, but it IS writing and sometimes those mundane details spark something creative in me. Thank you, Amber. The writing attitude is a necessary part of the process.

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Amber Lea Starfire December 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Patsy, I believe there’s a creative seed in every “mundane” detail … if we only pay attention. And it seems that you do.

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Barbara Toboni December 6, 2012 at 8:38 am

Amber, I think you write more than most people I know. Double pats on the back for you! I just wrote a shopping list and everything was spelled correctly. Pat, pat!

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Amber Lea Starfire December 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Barbara, I love your humor! :-)

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Eddie Blatt December 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

It’s always a treat when I come across someone who has been having similar experiences to my own. Just like you, Amber, I now consider whatever I write, in whatever context, to be opportunities to practice my craft. And I also always pay attention to the quality of my writing, whether it’s answering emails, contributing to a blog, or completing the memoir I am currently labouring over. I also sometimes wonder, however, whether it would be worthwhile letting go of the desire to always be seen as producing quality writing, and allowing others to see first drafts. I reckon people would be surprised at just how poor the quality actually is!

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Amber Lea Starfire December 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Eddie, thanks for your comment. Hmm… you ask a thought-provoking question. For me, I think the answer is that I’m really focusing on quality for myself first, my audience secondary. I’m the sort of person who competes with myself, always stretching for growth in some way—growth rather than perfection, I like to think, though I may be fooling myself.

On the other hand, there is certainly some pride involved … I don’t really want people to see my first drafts. I can only imagine how shocked they’d be! (“And she thinks she’s a writer!”) .

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journaljunquie December 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I really needed to hear this! I’ve struggled alot with the issue without realizing that I’m writing lots of things even when I don’t have time to sit & write in a manner that I was considering ‘real writing’!! Thanks, Amber!!

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Amber Lea Starfire December 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

You’re welcome, journaljunquie (love the name!).

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Pamela Williamson December 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I love this post, Amber. After a recent bout of writer’s block I was feeling more than a little insecure. One day I realized that I had answered some lengthy emails, commented on several of my favorite blogs, and jotted down some ideas for blog posts, even though they didn’t thrill me. At the end of the day I looked at all I had written and how much time it had taken me. I actually started to feel accomplished, and when I re-read some of the stuff, I noticed how compact and clear everything was. This piece just confirmed my thoughts. And…..the next time someone makes fun of me for having to be so technical on twitter, texts and Facebook, by not succumbing to the abbreviations and slang, I will just proudly tell them that I have a writer’s attitude. :)

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Amber Lea Starfire December 14, 2012 at 4:49 am

Pamela, yours are the first words I read this morning, and I feel so proud of and encouraged by you. Your experience confirms that acknowledging the writing we do empowers us to do more — and opens our minds to possibilities. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

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