Monday, November 29, 2010

'Step by Step Guides'

I have been reading this book called 'The Art of Creative Writing' by Lajos Egri.The ideas behind creating a wonderful piece of writing are clear and concise. Unfortunately, what if you are the type of writer who experiences some of what another author suggests, but not all? Are you not a prolific writer in your own right?

There are many helpful books on writing out there and don't get me wrong, this is a good one, however I am just questioning the validity of step by step manuals. Yes, in the right context these books can be helpful, especially the ones that inform you of new trends and contacts. Isn't writing all about reading? (It hones those research skills that all good writers have).

I sometimes feel as a writer that if I don't have shelves full of step by step manuals teaching me the best way to become a writer, than I am not a good writer. I understand the importance of supporting fellow writers, and having shelves of books that interest me, but bankrupting myself because 'how-to' guides are considered imperative, I do not think is the answer.

Well you may think differently but I agree that again in the right context they are useful, but good writing for me is 'practice'. Practicing the craft I love, helps me develop my writing; with mistakes comes building character and experience.

Lajos Egri's book is one of the good guides, one of many that adorn the shelves of book stores. While I am spending my money on books that are suppose to show me how to become a good writer(according to the views expressed by such authors), I am not spending time on writing and developing my own work.

So fellow writers, lets just practice our craft, send off submissions, and along the way avoid bankruptcy!


  1. I've tried to read a few 'how-to' guides but never seem to get much out of them. I think read as much as you can and write as much as you can is a great place to start. Even though the first few times I gave my work to someone else to workshopping (for Popular Fiction) made me feel physically ill, the feedback aspect works wonders for improving your work. But each to their own, whatever works!

    Have a great time at the beach! Where are you heading to?

  2. Yes, giving your work to someone for workshopping can be daunting. I think the improvement to your work outweighs the anxiety you may be feeling at the time. I think I have given up on how-to guides because I think it is someone else's journey and I need to find my own rhythm! Port Fairy is the destination; I am praying for good weather!