Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Like many of you, I’ve been watching the Olympics this week. Talk about excitement! Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin, they take my breath away.

I was thinking this week as I watched how these athletes have worked so hard to make their dreams come true. But the truth is, they were also blessed with natural abilities that made those dreams a possibility. With all the training and practice in the world, I never could have been a Shawn Johnson, even if I had started when I was six.

And that of course, like everything else seems to, leads me to think about this writing thing I’m doing. Part of me wonders–ALL THE TIME–if I should even bother with writing at all. How much natural talent is required, and do I have enough? What if I work hard and keep at it, learn what I can, hone my craft, and my work still isn’t good enough? I know that no amount of work will guarantee that I’ll ever be published. I guess all writers face these doubts.

The thing I keep coming back to is that I really enjoy writing and the writing life. My dear husband reminds me all the time that even if I never get to count writing as more than a hobby, if I enjoy it, it’s worth it.

And the truth is, I don’t aspire to winning a gold medal. I’d be content just to qualify for the games.


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Have you ever been aware of your own growth? Sometimes I have the sensation of mentally pushing through a membrane to a place I’ve never been. Usually this comes with a deeper understanding of a concept (or concepts), an understanding that allows me to see things in a way I’ve never seen them before.

Let me give you an example. When I took my first fiction writing course in college, one of the primary “rules” that my teacher repeated was to use concrete detail. I can remember her saying over and over that concrete sensory detail was essential to ground the reader in the story. And she was right. But only now, ten years later (wow, that really dates me, doesn’t it?), am I coming to understand how critical it is not just to include sensory detail, but the right sensory detail–the detail that will not only put the readers into the scene, but will also work to reveal something about a character or create resonance in the story.

It’s similar to my growth as a Christian. As a child, I was taught many “rules” for living as one of God’s people. But only as I grow up in Him am I beginning to understand what it really means to, for example, “look not only to [my] own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

As with writing, knowing something doesn’t mean I’m good at putting it into practice. It takes a long time to learn how to show instead of tell, just as it takes time and practice to “be anxious for nothing.” (I guess I’ve got my head buried in Philippians right now.)

The best part is, as I press on as a writer, I am learning skills that I can apply as I strive to walk in the Way. I’m learning perseverance, for one thing. And courage.

How has your growth as a writer paralleled your growth in other areas of your life?


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