Unbeknownst to Daniel, Mr. Miyagi was actually teaching him karate moves with his “Wax on-Wax off” motion. When the time came to fight, Daniel knew what to do, because of all the work he’d done at Mr. Miyagi’s house.
We all start out at the bottom of the totem pole, just like the executive who might have started out in the mailroom or cleaning toilets. Only a very few exceptional writers actually make it right out of the starting gate the first time and I’ll bet most of them probably weren’t that lucky. Case in point, J. K. Rowling.
One thing we shouldn’t do is ignore professional advice. If you can find someone who has “been there”, someone who will show you the ropes, to teach the craft of writing to you, you should jump on that chance. For goodness sake, don’t ignore it, disrespect or put them down. You might regret that someday.
Sure, reading a book about writing can give you some of the basics, but it can’t give you the personal advice of someone who is knowledgable, someone who has been around the same block a few times that you’re trying to get around once on.
Books can vary in their content, confusing the heck out of you. One book I read said that there should be some dialogue at the beginning of each chapter…to kind of pull you into the scene. Another one said that the beginning of the chapter should be there for you to build up the scene with imagery and the surroundings. So, which one is right?
With a teacher showing you the way, you’ll find you’re a better writer for it. I’ve been blessed to find not only one teacher, but many teachers, published and unpublished alike, who have taught me more than what I could ever learn from a book.
Many people, myself included, learn mainly by doing. Oh sure, I’ve read several “How to write” type books, but my association with the Writer’s of Mass Distraction has taught me so much more than what a book could teach me.
No book is ever as encouraging as a friend, co-worker, teacher and advisor. I’ve learned from my critical colleagues what I’ve needed to change to make a story better, and maybe they’ve learned something from me. At some point, we make it to teacher status, in some way, shape or form. Just recently, an aspiring writer read my novel “Remember The Eyes” and was inspired to finish her own manuscript. I don’t know what I might have done to inspire her, but I was glad I was there to help.
Some writers have this pre-conceived notion that they know how to write already, without the courses and the degrees. I recently read a novella that was so poorly written, the author had obviously not taken the time to edit it. It looked like maybe a teenager had written it. Of course, maybe the thrill of the written word was all this person wanted (the book was free from Amazon), but obviously no teacher, or friend even, taught this author that just because you can self-publish, doesn’t always mean you should.
Some writers are the Never-Ending Mistake. Advice is given to them, whether it’s about a book that they have written or a question that they have asked, and you give them the information that they will need. Do they take it? No. And, therein lies the problem. Apparently the “Wax-on, Wax-off” method of repeating things to them endlessly, doesn’t get through to them.
I consider my colleagues here at WMD excellent teachers. Each and every one brings something to the table. As I said, I consider myself blessed to be in the company of such a great lot of wonderful teachers.
So, instead of reaching for that “how to” book, why not find yourself a teacher who will teach you all that you need to know to write a decent book. There are lots of Mr. Miyagis out there…you just have to go out and find one.
Thankfully I found mine.