by Annette Young
I’ve always expressed the opinion that if someone really wishes to learn the techniques of creative writing and, to write professionally, they can. They just need to develop the right mind-set. This means they have to overcome any creative obstacles that block their way to success i.e. time, patience, family or work demands. It’s not rocket science to think that if they can find a little bit of time each day, this will keep the creative brain cells well-oiled and improvement will follow.
Going back some (many years) now, I used to tell my creative writing students in my college classes that they needed to write little and often. Many took this advice and there was no doubting that their work and their understanding of the techniques began to improve each week. But then, it was a case of seeing them just once a week and leaving them to their own creative pursuits in between sessions.
Nowadays, I provide a lot of online coaching and this works really well. Sometimes, it involves a Skype session and at other times, students wish to work just via email. Just recently, I have been coaching someone after I had provided a professional critique of his book. It was not a bad read, but, the writing lacked depth and it needed some work.
As he wanted to publish it soon, he had a choice. Hire a professional editor like myself who could work on the structure of the book and bring it to life, or learn the techniques himself and make the edits. I was delighted that he actually wanted to learn the techniques and, boy, 3 to 4 sessions a week via email made a huge difference. His writing abilities have accelerated through the roof.
So why couldn’t he write like this before? After all, it’s only been a few weeks and about 7 sessions, but, the secret is clear, he’s applied himself to the creative tasks, he’s listened to feedback, he’s understood the depth at which his writing must take the readers. He now thinks about every little aspect. He is now feeling those characters, he’s seeing the scenes unfold before him and he’s utilising his senses so that he can portray these scenes fully to his readers. He’s taken a note of all of the comments, the feedback and the suggestions and he’s applied each of these techniques. It’s gratifying to see a new author emerging and just shows what can be done when the mind-set is positive.
I believe there is another reason. The sessions, close together, maximise the information given and increases the learning curve substantially. Providing he applies the same care to the editing of his book going forward, the readers are going to be drawn into the plot and held captive until the end.
It’s a part of my job that I really like, seeing new creative talent emerging.
If you would like one to one coaching via email or Skype, click HERE but, if you prefer to learn alone and to improve your technique and story-telling skills, don’t wait, do it, start today. Spend 20 minutes daily on crafting and polishing a paragraph. Think about what you are trying to convey and then, visualise it so to make it real. Do this and your technique will improve dramatically.
Everyone can become a good writer if they take the time to learn but remember, have fun with it too.