Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The "Craft" of Writing

I hear a lot about honing one's craft by writing and editing. I also hear about learning the basics, making sure one is competent with the elements of writing, etc. I have never taken a formal writing class. I've been told (by a paid critic), that my dialogue is good and I understand how to use it. I've been published in an online blog, and I'm gathering a nice collection of rejection letters to add to my writing credentials.
So does being an avid bookworm serve as adequate training for the craft of writing? Does writing lots and lots of research papers for grad school count? How important is formal training? What are the "elements" of writing? I'd love to hear from you all about your opinion about this sort of thing? Can natural talent and being well-read serve as well as an MFA?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What do Kathleen Norris and Elizabeth Gilbert have in common?

I watched this great video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love," and I loved it. I recommend you watch it - if you don't have time, watch the video and skip this post! She talks about creativity as connection with the divine other, not purely self-generated. And what does this have to do with Kathleen Norris? In her book, "Acedia and me," she describes falling into "a trap that ensnares many novice poets, writing only when I was depressed" (51). Our life's work, our calling to write, to create, is not a death sentence.
We all know writing is, in huge part, discipline. But there is another element, one Gilbert identifies as genius or daemon, and Norris identifies as faith in God. The divine spark that we must harness and work in harmony with.