Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sting on Learning the Ropes

Jill here.

I have a second Sting quote that I picked up from watching 20 Feet From Stardom, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2014. The show tells the story of several backup singers who sang on hundreds of famous songs. I wrote this quote down while watching the show.


This same truth applies to authors. There are times when an author shoots to the top of the bestseller lists, even with a book that has truly terrible writing. It happens. And that author might make a lot of money. But if he or she skipped the hard work of learning to write, of being rejected time and again and not giving up, that success will be wafer thin. Easily lost in a moment. Unable to write a second hit. A one hit wonder come and gone. Here today, forgotten tomorrow.

If writing matters to you, if you love stories, don't be that author. Don't look for a quick path to success. Put in the time to train yourself, to practice, to learn skills. Respect your dream enough to know that anything worthwhile takes hard work. It's true in the music industry. It's true in the publishing industry. It's just plain truth.

What ways have you been working hard lately? Share in the comments.

10 comments:

  1. Great quote! So many authors could take a lesson from this....

    Right now I'm struggling to write battle scenes, and I know that has to change before I can even think about publication, but I've been working to improve my writing style, especially descriptions, with far more success. It finally sounds unique, if maybe a bit too rambling, and I'm actually happy with how it flows, which for me is a first.

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  2. That's wonderful, Ellie. It can be difficult to look at your writing and decipher strengths and weaknesses. When I am able to see my weaknesses, I'm always excited because I then know what to work on. I'm glad you were able to see your struggles and can now see the improvement too. That's great! Congrats, and keep at it!

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    1. I know the feeling . . . it took a while for me, but then one day it occurred to me, "Hey, maybe THAT's why I hate this novel so much!" The way I usually find my weaknesses is seeing them in something I wrote three, four years ago, and then seeing the same things appearing in my WIP. This problem has been plaguing my writing forever, and I only noticed it recently, but now that I see it at least I know it's there. Teens Can Write Too is currently doing a blog chain on strengths and weaknesses, which has forced me to think about it so I have something to write about in my post.

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    2. That's very clever. Maybe I should read one of my old books and see what pops out at me? Ha ha.

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    3. Hey, if it works, it works . . . for me, things just tend to be more obvious in earlier, and significantly more terrible, stories. You don't really see those things while you're working on a book, but a three-year-old draft is another thing entirely.

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  3. Love this! I think this is hard to remember, particularly for young authors. If you asked eleven-year-old me when I first started writing if I would be published in my teens, I would've been indignant at your doubt. But now, six years later, I practice, because I'm not good enough yet, but I'm hoping I will be someday.

    I think my weakness right now is keeping the actions and motivations of my characters reasonable and understandable.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Allison. It sounds like you have gained a lot of wisdom over the years. Keep at it!

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  4. I'll admit it, there are days when I just want the easy way. I want the story to come to me without effort, and I want it to shoot to the top of the charts. But I've grown as a person and as a writer by having to wait for publication, to write when there is no muse, to put away my writing dream for a time to help my family, to have a faltering start to my publishing career. I've been humbled by my journey and because of that, I want to encourage and help others the same way other authors have helped me.

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    1. That's so very awesome, Morgan. Thank you for sharing. :-)

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  5. Great quote! I think every writer has wished for writing to be easier at one point or another (like daily?). But like he said, if you bypass the work, the success will be wafer thin. I want my success to be thick, like a ten-layer chocolate cake.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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