Gone Writing

ASL, My Novel, and Being a Little Evil

Writing and Training

  • February 12, 2018
  • Blog


olympics photo


It’s Olympics week. You’re watching from the couch and agreeing or disagreeing with the commentators before heading back to work.

You sit down at your desk. Pencil, pen, or laptop? It doesn’t matter. You flex your fingers and prose effortlessly flows onto the page. You knock out a few chapters in uninterrupted silence.

Okay, you can stop laughing. Obviously that’s a fantasy. But how many times do people see the final product and think how easy it is?

How easy is it to do a triple salchow on the ice with millions of eyes on you?

I admire the athletes for their determination and practice. It’s the practice and training that help them rise above the pack. I’m sure there are plenty of days when they’d like to stay home and watch TV with slices of cake. And if they wanted to, they could. But they don’t. They have their eye on a different goal and they work hard to make it happen.

Do you? Are you working on improving your writing every chance you get? It’s easy to get published these days as an indie author. More than once I’ve browsed through a story that had such potential but failed. Sometimes it failed for ridiculously simple reasons—bad spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Those were mechanical errors that should have been fixed, either by the author or by someone they paid. That’s nuts-and-bolts errors, the technical factors that the judges count when the ice skaters touch the ice with their hand when they lose their balance.

Then there’s the artistry of writing. The voice that calls out to readers and pulls them in. It’s a story that’s compelling, with strong characters who make you feel involved and invested in what happens.

I hate to tell you this but while there are many wonderful and glorious times when the words do flow and I’m lost in creation, there are many more times of slogging through the mud.

I’ve trained. I’ve sweated over wording and learned from teachers who kindly explained why using diamonds and stars in the same sentence to describe water wouldn’t work. And I’m still learning. Still training. If I want to be the best writer I can be, this is what it takes. Anything less is fooling myself, like thinking I can do a double axel on the ice while watching TV.

So let’s get to it. Practice starts tomorrow. Don’t be late.

  • Marie MacBryde • February 12, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Great blog, J.M.! Timely and relevant. Now back to practicing.

    • J. M. Levinton • February 12, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Thank you!

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