Writing is like learning a trade
Over the years I have found writing is like learning a trade. When I was an apprentice mechanic I remember staring into the workings of a stripped down gearbox and thinking, how am I ever going to learn how that works?
Writing as it turns out is very similar to fixing cars. It is so much more about repetition and by doing the work learning the tricks of the trade. You can read as many car manuals as you can but there is no better experience than getting your hands dirty and doing the practical work.
It’s the same with writing. You can read as many books as you like on how to write but until you sit down in a quiet room and record your ideas in words you will never progress. Failure in writing is just learning. A first draft will never ever be as good as the final rewritten and polished manuscript. And you will never get a final polished manuscript until you have started your novel and finished your first draft.
The saying, ‘Your worst work will always be better than the best work you never did.’ is applicable to writing. The book you have written in your head is a waste of space in your brain if you don’t write it.
My publisher Christine edits my work and she can be quite critical. Taking criticism is how you learn to write. This works for me because readers of books are in my opinion more intelligent than your average non-reader. A reader will find your mistakes, your bad grammar, holes in your plot, the weakness of your characters.
No book is perfect; almost every novel will have the odd typo or a ‘the’ instead of ‘there’ but I try to have the finished manuscript as near to correct as humanly possible.
I had only two years in high school, so writing has been a long and difficult road. Fortunately I have received support from my wife Jackie and my family who are not afraid to critique my work.
Christine has also inspired me to keep writing when sometimes I doubted I could do it.
My books may never be bestsellers but that is not why I write. I enjoy the challenge: from starting from a clean sheet of paper to holding a published book in my hand. It is the same sort of thrill I enjoyed from breaking in a wild colt and turning him into a well-mannered racehorse.
NZ Paranormal Comedy The Hoodle will be published very soon
A J Burton.