Mining Craft

I had recently posted a blog over on our dojo’s website, entitled Creatures of Dedication.

This blog basically looked at what I saw was present in students that you’d call dedicated to training, verses those that fall out of training. The major difference I see in the world of martial arts between the two groups isn’t dedication exactly, but consistency. Basically, they made training a habit. It is something they do each day, therefore they are showing signs of that virtue known as dedication.

Sigh-Charlie-Brown-229x300Now, I think this notion is transferable, directly, to writing. I’ve met many, many wannabe writers who say things like this:

  • Where doth my muse!?
  • Some people are just naturally stellar, some aren’t.
  • I was/wasn’t born as creative as so-and-so best selling author.
  • I don’t think a writer should force themselves to write. They should wait for the mood/idea/inspiration to strike them.
  • The muse visits some of us more than others…le sigh!

You get the picture. This all is ignoring the idea of consistency in work, habits in writing, and establishing a routine. When you establish a daily writing routine, like any other job, something that looks a lot like dedication comes out the other end.

I wholeheartedly am in opposition to the statements above. No offense, but it is loser talk.  (It also reeks of inexperience, IMHO) All those so-called intrinsic qualities, that seemingly are bestowed upon established authors, aren’t so intrinsic. Every virtue, every 5683adafa3bb393586b197bdd0cf9177talent, is crafted from a raw material. Even if you are, say, born slightly more talented than the next guy, that’s little more use than discovering you have an oil deposit sitting under your house. That’s some really good natural dumb luck…dumb luck that is useless unless you also have a drill. Being naturally more creative, or gifted with words, is pretty useless unless you take the effort to mine that shit out of yourself. Bring your genius to the surface.
FYI: I think we are all geniuses! Most just give up while the digging is still good.

Being born more creative than the next guy doesn’t mean a wit if I don’t consistently exercise that creativity. And, the only way to strengthen that creative-muscle is to work it out when it is all flabby and weak. Acknowledge that my ideas are sucking, or my prose are melodramatic/over worked/unengaged/whatever. Work when I don’t feel like it. Create a daily habit.

You can teach yourself to be creative.

You got to shovel a lot of manure to yield crops. Everyone’s first stabs suck. Sometimes our second, tenth, one-hundredth stabs will suck.  I can’t lie. They sometimes suck REAL bad. Just like how everyone who puts on a pair of roller-skates falls on their ass at first. It isn’t a failure of your muse. It isn’t a failure of you as a person. Stop with the legend of THE GREAT MAN. There are no great men that were just born better than the rest of us.  Great men are just hacks who figured out how to square two hours after Pilates class, but before picking up the kids for school, to mine their craft on a consistent basis.

If you were previously undisciplined in your habits, don’t feel bad. I’m not writing this to shame anyone. I’m writing this as much of a reminder, if not more so, to myself, as I am for anyone else who might read it.

Happy scribbling.


2 thoughts on “Mining Craft

  1. This is really good to hear actually. I do try to write every day (even if it’s just comic stories) and a LOT of what I do sucks and sometimes I feel like forcing myself to put something on paper when I’m not in the mood is a waste of time. It’s good to know that maybe it’s not.


    1. Never a waste of time. Baseball players don’t consider batting practice a waste of time. I got a trunk full of crap that no one will ever see. It is all laying the pavement for the stuff I’m okay with selling.


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