How Great Art Thou?


“How great art thou?” is a question that does not help a writer.  Of course, you will always have doubts of your talent.  Those doubts really do not help and all they do is split your concentration.


You are asking the wrong question.  The right question is to be, “Am I getting better?”  Not am I matching up to someone else work, which is implied in the question, “How great art thou?”


Only one person can answer the question, “Am I getting better.”  That is yourself.  All you can do is improve as a writer.  And the benchmark is your own work.


As far as publishing your work, that decision whether your work is accepted for publication is not yours.  Yes, you have to put it out there but you can not become overly concerned with that.


It prevents you from writing as well as you can if that is in back of your mind when you are writing and editing your work whether it will be published.  Your job is to get it as good as you can.  That is it.


I believe everyone has talent but somehow you have to get beyond anyone’s expectations including your own and write as honestly as you can with the least amount of affectation and be whoever you are.


You are who you are.  And when you can demonstrate that people will want to read what you have written.




Writing Fiction Versus Non-Fiction


I write only non-fiction.  At least I call it that.  I have not been able to write fiction.  In fact, the prospect of attempting that has me terrified.


I know a fellow writer who has the opposite problem:  she is terrified of writing non-fiction.  I find that interesting.


There are authors I have seen who do both–write non-fiction as well as fiction.  To me that is also interesting.  I wonder what percent of authors can do both.  I really have no idea.


It would be interesting to me to explore that.  My mind just rebels every time I even consider writing fiction.


Should I just accept that?  Or should I explore further if I am able to compose fiction or just leave it at that:  I only write non-fiction and that is okay.



A Sense Of Wonder Has To Fuel Your Writing


A sense of wonder has to fuel your writing.  You have to allow yourself to be surprised by the unexpected and unknown.  And then be driven to write about your discoveries.


Writing about what you see and seeking to bridge the unknown and mystery is what fuels your writing.  Trying to fathom what you do not understand and stretching yourself in the process forces growth.


Underlying all this is your sense of wonder.  It comes and goes for most people.  And you can’t be overly concerned if life appears static and dull.  It will change again when you least expect it to.


You have to pay attention within and without.  And have the patience to note the simple things occurring around you.  Life is composed of many simple things.  And miracles always occur around you.


You just have to pay attention.  Your sense of wonder kindles your imagination and fuels your writing.  It gives it power.

Simplicity and Clarity


Simplicity and clarity and honesty go hand and hand in writing.  And it always has to be personal–something your reader can grab, identify with–the more honest the better.


Realize your personality always comes through your writing.  You can’t really hide who you are.  It is really impossible to write anything without revealing you anyway.


I made a decision a long time ago.  I had to strive for simplicity and clarity and honesty if I were to be any good as a writer.


You can not write with clarity if you are not open.  And then again striving for simplicity and clarity forces you to remain as open as you can.


Readers usually appreciate honesty.  And simplicity and clarity and honesty go hand and hand so always strive for those qualities.



Perfectionism Is The Work Of The Devil

Perfectionism is the work of the devil.  Let us take one area, writing.  At each step, I must learn to relax and accept my work.  I have done my best and must rest.


The converse, is to tear out your hair and moan to yourself and tell yourself I could have done better (to whoever you want to compare yourself to).


This attitude is counterproductive.  Always comparing yourself to someone else’s work splits your concentration.  Being always concerned your work does not match up (to whoever) weakens your work.


To write the best you can is to accept your results at every stage of your piece.  There should be only one person you should compare yourself to:  and that is you.


You are unique.  Comparing yourself to anyone else really does not work.  No one can be you.  Trying at every stage to improve your work is fine.  But at every stage, learn to relax and accept the results.


And unfortunately when you write and are concerned whether your work matches up to anyone else, you eventually become paralyzed and stop writing because you have become too anxious.


Wanting to get better and better is normal.  And submitting your work to a trusted editor is good but learn to relax and accept your results at every stage of the piece.  This attitude preserves your sanity and enables you to keep on writing.


There is only one you and no one likes phonies so keep exploring in your writing the unique place you have in this world.  And avoid the trap of perfectionism.  Then you will continue to write the best you can.  And that should be your only goal–to become the best writer you are capable of-and you will.