Recently I had a piece published online, and I was happy. I’d completed a work that had given me a lot of trouble. I’d wrestled and overcome writer’s block. My name and blog got some exposure. And, not least of which, I could say that I’d been published.
And then I got ripped to shreds.
The comments ranged from unimpressed to hostile. People didn’t like what I wrote and they didn’t like me for writing it. I wondered, “did they miss something?” I went back and reread it and found the problem: it was sloppily written, and because of that, it gave the wrong message. How could I, an English major at a good school make such a glaring mistake? I got A’s in all my writing classes, how could this happen?
I realized that I deserved everything they were saying. I’m not as good a writer as I thought I was.
I was surprised by what happened next. I thought I would feel like an idiot or a sham or embarrassed or at least insulted.
Instead I felt inspired.
Inspired to become a better writer. Inspired to re-think the way that I viewed the writing process. I was excited to discover my flaws and fix them, to tear down my preexisting notions and forge new perspectives. I was enthusiastic when I looked at my bookshelf and saw all those unread books, just waiting to teach me something.
I am ready for the writer I was to die off and, in his place, erect a better writer; wiser and braver and more courageous because I had failed and yet set the bar even higher for myself.
So what does this mean for my blog?
Well, I will no longer continue to post sporadic poems, flash fiction, pictures, and quotes. Rather, I will be diving into books on writing and opening the forum up for discussion. I’ll be coming up with and posting focused exercises and prompts to develop new skills. I’ll examine advice from great authors, past and present, and try to extract practical wisdom from them. I’ll look at these greats and examine their writing to see what techniques they use to convey their message. And I’ll be doing this every day. Not once in a while. It’s time to make writing a daily practice.
More than anything, I am making this blog about you all, not about me.
So please, join me and let’s become better writers. Little by little, day by day. Why wait?