Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Way to Suck Less

Today's one liner: The more you write, the more you suck less. Word.

Do you think you get better the more you practice? Or do you have to learn something new and apply it before you'll become a better writer?

Oh, and I predicted the future yesterday...go check it out!

70 comments:

Slamdunk said...

In general, yes. I would say that for activities like writing I need to learn the basics before jumping into practice or I'll just be training myself to do things wrong.

The practice thing does not work my golf game--I am horrible.

Jen said...

I'd say the more you work at it and write it out the better you'll be, but I also think learning is a great tool to help yourself along as a writer as well!

Your interview is up on my blog!!!

Christi Goddard said...

Over the years, it's been practice, but the last few months I've learned so many awesome editing tips from blogs that I apply them as I go and my writing has improved dramatically.

Thanks for keeping up such an awesome blog, Elana.

Josi said...

It's definitely true for me, when I have a regular schedule the writing comes much easier and I get a better result. I screwed up a deadline earlier this year and had to write 60,000 words in just over a month. It was miserable for my family, but I was shocked at how easy the story came.

Piedmont Writer said...

I have to learn something new and apply it otherwise I'll just keep writing the same bad writing.

Aubrie said...

I think you have to keep writing, but you also have to keep getting feedback as well.

Vicki Rocho said...

Good advice. I hope blogging, emailing, and all that stuff I do at work counts towards my goal of sucking less!

Natalie Aguirre said...

In general, the more you write, the better you get. But it is helpful to study the craft, especially if you didn't in college. Writing is a craft and there are some great books out there on plot, dialogue, character development that can help you get unstuck out of ruts in your writing.

Robert Guthrie said...

The more we write and the more we read, the more we learn about writing.

Matthew Rush said...

I'm not sure that practice makes much difference, at least not for me. Inspiration seems to come and go of course, but I think the most important thing is learning new aspects of writing.

I would also say that reading is more important than writing practice.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I get better the more I read.
~ Wendy

Alison Stevens said...

For me it's a mixture of reading and writing. I find that my writing changes a bit, depending on what I'm reading.

I'm still singing "One" from yesterday... thanks, Elana!

Scott said...

Practice makes perfect, or at least semi-perfect. Okay, it never worked with me and the piano, but, with writing, the more I write, the more comfortable I become with my writing, and with what rules to follow and break.

S

Candyland said...

I think it's both. To read more and write more and apply what you've learned is to suck less. I think. I don't know, I still suck!!!

Holly Dodson said...

I definitely think I learn from the actual act of writing. I also learn a lot from revising that I can then apply to my writing. So, yes, I'd have to agree with you :)

JustineDell said...

Ewh...I hate "learning" about writer. I'm a firm believer that writing makes me a better writer. I can even tell through all the things I've written. 1st one sucked. 2nd one sucked a little less. 3rd one is almost okay.

;-)

JD

Linda Kage said...

I think you get better the more you write; but it's always nice to keep getting craft tips and going to workshops and reading writing books, because even if you already KNOW everything about writing, it's always good to get a refresher to remind yourself what you already know!! Me, I'm still in the grasshopper stage, lots more to learn here.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm a little of both. I like to learn the correct method but it's through practice that I find my voice and style.

storyqueen said...

Yes. I completely agree with this sentence one hundred percent!

Shelley

Regina said...

I had better get to writing because I really want to suck less. I love the one liners Elana, they are great. Take care of you.

KrysteyBelle said...

I think it's a combination of both. My first novel was just to see if I could do it. After I started work on the second one, I joined a critique group and started reading everything I could about writing, as well as reading everything I could in that genre. Now, hard at work on my fourth novel, I'm finally to the point where I can see unneccessary words, and repetition without having to have someone else look at it. I'm also much better at dropping in little hints about setting, character, motivation, appearance, etc. In short, I'm better able to edit my work the first time around. Of course, I still revise, because not doing so would just be silly. =)

Kay said...

Practice=success. Read the book "Outliers: the story of success" Malcolm (something)... not going to look, but it's a proven stat that it's true.

Kristi Helvig said...

Kay - it's Malcolm Gladwell and his books are awesome! I do think learning is important too which is probably why I'm a perpetual student. My goal is to suck a little less each day! :)

PJ Hoover said...

Totally agree with this one liner! The more you write, the total less you suck. Practice, practice, practice. But throwing in some reading in there too helps.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

A bit of both. I could continue to write, and continue to write suckiness. Or I could learn something new to apply to my writing, and write tons so it becomes second nature. :D

Erica Chapman said...

Absolutely, the more you get down the better it's going to be.

The more books you write the better your writing gets, because the way you from sentences improves, what words you use, the style, the voice. It all improves ;o)

Nice one liner!

Lisa said...

I think it's a little of both.

Tahereh said...

i definitely think both. because for sure with time your writing gets better, but you also have to know what you're doing wrong in order to fix it.

it's definitely happened for me that way.

:D

Elana Johnson said...

Ah, yes. I must know what I'm doing wrong in order to start doing it right. THAT should've been my one liner!

And I agree. For me, I had to write write write in order to find what kind of writer I was. I read like crazy and I marked all the things that made me wish I could write like that.

And then I get critiques to help me find what's wrong or what could be better.

So it is all a process. But I definitely think the more you do it, the more you suck less. Plus, I just like saying "Way to suck less!" Ha!

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Practice, getting helpful critiques, practice again and just keep writing through the suck until it clicks in my brain to stop doing the stuff that slows down or disrupts my prose. I challenge myself with different drills to improve but still the best writing has come from super helpful critiques. I grow from each one. Sometimes my eyes glaze over my problems...a case of denial perhaps? =P

Krista said...

It surprises me every time I have left a ms to work on a new one, and then when it is time to go back and take another look at the first one, I find a bunch of stuff I either didn't see or didn't know could be better, BECAUSE of what I learned as I wrote the second ms. I'm getting ready to do that right now, and I am anticipating finding a lot of edits. And that's all right!

Corey Schwartz said...

Np sure if my writing has improved (it was pretty darn good to begin with. ha!) BUT I have definitely learned to come up with plots that are more high concept.. and therefore more likely to sell in this market!

Jackee said...

I'm loving these one liners. And yes, I think I suck less with every book. Though I don't think it gets any easier, just different.

Someone left a comment on my blog the other day that said, "Writing begets more writing." So true!

Tere Kirkland said...

This is the one thing I know to be true about writing.

I almost dumped a project I loved because my skill-level just wasn't high enough to write the story the way it needed to be written. Instead, I wrote a new novel, which made me a better writer, one who was able to go back and improve my first story.

With every story, I suck less and less. ;)

JEM said...

All I have to say is I went back and read an excerpt of an old story from a year or two ago, and I felt like I was reading a fifth grader's essay. I wanted to pat myself on the head and tell myself how cute I was.

Melody (frmrly: Jane Harmony) said...

A huge, resounding YES! :)
For a long time - years, actually - I let myself write anything. No stories got finished, but I had the distinct idea that the more I wrote, the better I would get. At least, I reasoned, I couldn't get worse.

During that time, of course, I did pick up good tips and education about writing, but I honestly didn't seek it seriously. I just wrote. And I can tell a HUGE difference between my first writings and my writing now. It's very encouraging, because I know I'll only keep getting better! :)

Patti said...

For my first book, I sort of wrote in the dark, not knowing what the rules really were. With my latest first draft, I've tried hard to apply what I've learned.

Jennie Englund said...

That's a great guest post! And this one is, too!

Munk said...

Elana... your comment at 8:57 hits the mark.

Krispy said...

I think it's a bit of both, but you definitely need to practice to not only improve but to find your own voice.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I think over time I read more (including lovely blogs like this), so couple that with writing more and I suck less. At least I hope so. Wait...are you trying to tell me something?! J/k. Have a fab day! :)

Patricia A. Timms said...

I have gone through all of my journals and short stories stemming back twenty-four years, and I know that writing regularly (even about nothing and for no reason) makes me a better writer.

However, I read a book a week and so it's definitely a 50/50 thing.

I wouldn't even be able to pick up a pen if I didn't know how to read.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Writing is definitely a practice makes perfect kind of skill--for me at least. But it does also help if I force myself to learn about the craft too. I have a feeling my first drafts will always be made of suckage though. No matter how good I get. :)

Southpaw said...

Great one liner and yes, I agree with it.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Yep.

Jojomama said...

Yeah...practice helps. So does learning more things to apply to your writing. That's why I looove being in a writing group. We keep each other motivated to write a lot and we learn from one another. Writers Cubed, rocks!

Kelly Lyman said...

I think the more you do something, the more you learn about whatever it is that you're doing. I know I feel that I actually get better when I apply those lessons...sometimes it's daunting though to know that I have SO many more lessons to learn when it comes to writing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Enter loud, resounding YES here!

Megan said...

I'm totally sucking less at tennis, thanks to you. And at thinking of ideas for novels. *enter 1980's Chicago song* "You're my inspiration."

WhisperingWriter said...

I definately believe that my writing has improved over the years. I look at the stuff I wrote years ago and cringe. I imagine in ten years I'll look at the stuff I'm writing now and be all, "The heck was I thinking?"

Janet Johnson said...

Sometimes it feels like a suck more, but that's probably just because I know more.

Going back to my early stuff, I definitely suck less after lots of practice.

Stephanie said...

Yes...practice is everything!!!!!

lynnrush said...

I totally agree the more you write the better you get. I have always heard it's usually the 4-6 novel written that finally gets noticed. . . .

So...WRITE ON!!

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Definitely both. There has to be a balance. It's so stinkin easy to only do one or the other.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I think both too. The more I write, the more I read, the more I rewrite I develop. It's like when I was learning to play guitar. I had to practice. I had to play. You don't get better by looking at it. Although that would be nice. lol.

Amy Tate said...

Hmmm. Practice does help, but so does reading - especially something outside my genre. Go figure. Maybe it broadens my horizons. Sometimes in a weird sort of way, I feel like I haven't found myself as a writer. Does that sound corny? I'm still experimenting.

Jemi Fraser said...

Totally agree! I have learned so much in the last year or so since I've decided to look into the possibility of publishing one day. :)

Liz H. Allen said...

Word.

WritingNut said...

Yes, yes, yes annnnnd yes! I completely agree. Practice makes perfect! And we can always benefit from learning new things in order to strengthen our skills. I think this can be applied to many things too - not just writing!

Palindrome said...

a little from column a and a little from column b. You can write all you want but if you never learn to do certain things correctly, you make the same mistakes over and over, never learning. And you should always challenge yourself to write better each time you sit down.

Lindsey Leavitt said...

But some of the suckiness is always there to conquer, which is what makes writing so darn fun.

Lydia Kang said...

I think it's a bit of both. One can't happen without the other. For me at least!

Julie Musil said...

Totally agree! If we waited to be perfect, we'd never write!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Definitely agree--the more you write, the better you get!

Tabitha Bird said...

I don't know. Couldn't you write the same crap year in year out and never get any better? You have to be intentional about learning don't you? I mean somethings you might pick up, but I like the saying "perfect practice makes perfect". Otherwise you are just practicing the same mistakes really.

Marjorie said...

Yes, yes, and yes! You do get better as you go. I started a cartoon blog and the art at the beginning is hilariously out of perspective. But, as I practiced and practiced, the art got better.

However, I am not a stickler regarding the art at my blog, because the pieces are caption-dirven. The silly art serves to make the pieces funnier.

G said...

Absolutely.

When I started writing 4 years ago, I was horrible.

But as I progressed from doing chat rooms to blogging, my writing has improved to the point where people are complimenting me on a consistent basis on how solid it has become.

Still got a long way to go, but right now, I'm enjoying the ride.

Plus, some of my writing style is starting to seep into my blogging style, and vice versa, which makes things incredibly fun.

Robin McCormack said...

Yes. The more I write, the better I get. I think. I hope. I'm working on it.

Carrie said...

I think I get better with practice but also by learning new things when it comes to writing.

prashant said...

I also think learning is a great tool to help yourself along as a writer as well!
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