Ernest Hemingway – The Wild Years
With that being said, why do so many beginning writers think they know it all? As a leader of a critique group, I’m stunned but the number of people who are just not teachable. They want to be told their work is going to become a New York Times best seller and be made into a move instantly. But the writing is bad—no horrible.
For anyone starting anything you have to be teachable. Writers are no exception
Be open to suggestions:
- Sometime the phrasing or the pictures I am trying to draw with my words just doesn’t work. I value the input of my critique group to point out these areas and even offer suggestion. No matter how clearly I can see it in my head, if it doesn’t translate to the page I’ve failed at my job as an author—and it’s not the reader’s fault, it’s mine.
Be open to criticism:
- No matter how well you write, not everyone is going to like it. I received positive feedback on my first novel, but currently there is only one review posted on Amazon—a three star. The reader was not cruel, and had positive things to say, but one part was not her cup of tea. It was not a personal disparagement of me as a person—it was something in a book I wrote. I can accept it. Discount it. Become hurt or angry over it. Or I can learn from it.
Be willing to study:
- Just because I graduated school and can string words into a sentence doesn’t mean I can write a novel. I needed to learn how to follow the acceptable use of POV (point of view). I needed to learn how to develop world building for my fantasy stories and conduct adequate research for my historical fiction. I have attended workshops, conferences, purchased books and online courses on craft to continue to learn. I study grammar and double-check my sentence construction and punctuation usage all the time. I want to be the best I can be.
Seek out experts – And listen to them:
- Though my books go through my critique group and beta readers, I still have it worked over by an editor. If she tells me a sentence is awkward, or a metaphor doesn’t work, I’m not going to ignore her advice or try to explain to her why I’m right. I’m going to fix the issue.
If you wish to pursue a career in writing, be teachable. Even Steven King and James Scott Bell continue to seek opportunities to learn and pass their knowledge on to others. There are always ways to improve.