I just had the opportunity to attend the C.L.P. Artists/Writers’ Conference once again. The workshops were excellent and have given me much to ponder and consider. Here are a few of the many lessons I learned or relearned.
1. Too often, I’m afraid what comes from my keyboard or pen is more about me than about my Father. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 ESV
2. I am humbled once again by how much I have to learn in the art of writing. I blush as I reread what I have written two years ago and even a year ago. And hopefully when I look back to today on April 13, 2016, I will shake my head in slight embarrassment at my poor sentence structure and boring words because I have learned and developed better writing skills and structure since then. Even if I live to 108 years old, there will always be more to learn and perfect when it comes to writing!
3. I want to honor and serve you, the reader, more. I don’t want to waste your time or give you something worthless to read. After God, you are the most important part of the written word because you are the one who reads it!
4. Not being able to keep a journal doesn’t automatically disqualify me from being a writer. May I insert a *sigh of relief* here. I have lots of journals, but if you would look through them, you would find scattered entries which range from weeks to months apart. You would find poems and scribbled drawings instead of organized daily events and emotions. You would find prayers to God, which would probably make you doubt my sanity at some points. But you would not find a neat journal which is so often associated with a writer, and that’s okay.
5. Sometimes I take the reasons I write for granted, but I have been reminded of them once again. I write because I would explode if I couldn’t. I write because my heart yearns to share the love of God. I write because of the thrill that comes from putting words down unto paper and bringing to life stories and characters with their own unique personalities, adventures, and lessons to learn.
6. Yes, writing is easier than talking. And I have found kindred spirits who can identify with that. Wouldn’t life be smoother sometimes if we could write to one another instead of speaking?! At least it would be for me when my tongue becomes tangled and my mind can’t seem to force the right words from my lips!
7. I am on the search for a good writers’ group. Any suggestions or volunteers? I’m looking for a support group which can give each other honest criticism and help proofread each others’ works.
8. It will be fun to play around with some antithesis, polyptoton, synesthesia, and hyperbaton techniques in my personal writings=)
9. Editors are amazing people, and after sitting in the workshop, “Working with your Editor”, my admiration has only deepened. Even though their notes and manuscript changes may seem intimidating at times, they are such an asset to the written word and are working diligently to better the writing and the writer to produce something valuable for the reader.
10. I sometimes grow lazy and am not very diligent about watching for writing errors. Time to refresh myself on the grammar rules and stop using the ellipsis improperly;)
11. And last but not least, I enjoyed these quotes which were scattered throughout the handouts.
- “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” – Henry Green
- “My commodity as a writer, whatever I’m writing about, is me. And your commodity is you. Don’t alter your voice to fit your subject. Develop one voice that readers will recognize when they hear it on the page.” – William Zinsser
- “Don’t say, ‘The old lady screamed.’ Bring her on, and let her scream.” – Mark Twain
- “Description should begin in the writer’s imagination but finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King
- “What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.” – C.S. Lewis
- “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention…. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” – Steven Pressfield
- “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway