Friday, April 27, 2012

Rumors of Water Week: Final Quote

This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water.

Here's the last one:

Upon seeing her daughter tackle the forms of poetry, painstakingly writing each different kind, LL Barkat is challenged by the work she is putting into it and writes,

"When we possess a little natural talent for writing, we might be tempted to coast along. Why try to master these things called words? Isn't writing an art? Doesn't that mean we can just let things pour out as they will? I know a lot of writers who don't work very hard, thinking this is no disaster. They set down the first thing that comes to mind, and they want that to be the end of it."

This quote affected me in two ways. First, I am tempted to "set down the first thing that comes to mind and let that be the end of it." When I'm on deadline I'm cranking out words so fast I don't want to labor over word choice, think about character development, mine for themes and symbols and elements that will deepen and enrich the story. I just want to reach a desirable word count and press send, winging my little manuscript off to the fabled heights of my editor's desk. That is my default setting-- the less work the better.

But then there's the second part of this quote's impact on me. I know I can't leave it there. And the line of writing craft books on my shelf is proof that I strongly desire to be a better writer. That I will never arrive. That there is always more to learn. A bodybuilder would never take a look in the mirror one day and decide that he's finally where he wants to be and then stop working out forever. He knows he has to tone and tweak if he's got any hope of being as good as he can be. Perfection takes diligence.

And I am far from perfection.

And so I juggle deadline and word count with study and reading. Somehow, in the midst of it all I hope that my work improves with each book. I hate to hear a reader comment that a writer's subsequent books aren't as good as the early ones. May that never be true of me.

This concludes our week with Rumors Of Water. I hope you've enjoyed hearing from LL Barkat-- that what I've shared has given you things to think about and apply to your own life. I can tell you that even though I've spent a week on this book I barely skimmed the surface of what's there. So don't think I gave you a "good enough" view. This week was just a taste of the buffet.
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1 comment:

Sandra Heska King said...

Is this not one of the best books you've ever read on writing? I've enjoyed reading your reflections this week. Some of us have been working through the book over at Tweetspeak Poetry. I'm going through it now for about the third time. :)