Hello, friends! Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh and cohosted this month by Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner. If you’re a writer and if you feel insecure about your writing life, then click here to learn more about this wonderfully supportive group!
I like to write, but I don’t like to talk about writing. Whenever I talk about writing, I end up reminding myself just how tedious and frustrating the writing process can be. Fortunately, my muse is always eager to talk about writing, even when I’m not in the mood, so today I’m going to turn the floor over to her. My muse has something to say, and perhaps it’s something you and your muse would like to hear.
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They don’t tell you this in muse school, but we muses need to play the long game with our writers. Writers are born to write, but that does not mean they’re born with all the skills and abilities necessary for writing. The day I first met my writer—the human I was assigned to guide and inspire throughout his creative life—I found him utterly unprepared and woefully ill-suited for writing.
We had to start with the basics. I began by encouraging my writer to take an interest in the alphabet. He had these wooden blocks with letters on them. Those helped. Then I got him interested in words. Spelling was a challenge for many, many years, but we worked through that. Then came grammar, syntax, rhymes and rhythm—allegory, metaphor, irony, parallelism—comedy and tragedy—classic literature and genre fiction… We made progress. My writer has learned much since I first met him; he also still has much to learn.
But writers are human, of course, and they can be stupid in the way all humans are stupid. They like instant gratification. They want quick, easy solutions to their problems, including their writing-related problems. But writing is a skill that improves slowly. Gradually. The growth of a writer happens so slowly and so gradually that it may be almost imperceptible, even to writers themselves. Some writers may fool themselves into believing that they’re not improving at all, or they may start to fear that improvement is not possible. They forget how far they’ve come, and they worry themselves sick over how much further they still has to go.
Needless to say, as a muse, you must never give up on your writer. More importantly, though, never let your writer give up on him or herself. Make your writer keep writing. Make your writer keep practicing, keep trying. Do that, and the writing will get better. I promise.