Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Smooth Sailing

by Connie S. Hall

What can help us writers through the rough waters on our journey to have our stories published? I wish I knew. Even when all my writer friends are pulling together to make this writing voyage as smooth as possible, there are still many storms ahead.

Sailing isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are at least six types of boats-sloop, cutter, catboat, ketch, yawl, and schooner, and the mast is different on each one. Don’t ask me what a mast is because I have no idea. Other words I don’t understand are fractional rig, masterhead rig, headstay, jib-headed, square, gaff, mainsail, junk, boom, lateen, sliding gunter, lug, wishbone, and marconi. I haven’t even got to the sails yet which include main, mizzen, and head. With deeper reading and more studying, I may be able to understand all the foreign words.

I guess this is what it’s like for many of us learning to write. There are hundreds of ways to write – some of them work and some don’t. To help me every few weeks I usually read at least one of the "Fifty Tools Which Can Help You in Writing" by Roy Peter Clark. He says, "You will become handy with these tools over time."

So far, it hasn't helped me as much as I was hoping. It's not his fault; I take full responsibility, since old habits are hard to break. There’s lots of good information and he even says, "Eventually, they will become part of your flow, natural and automatic."

I certainly hope with practice that it will become automatic and natural to me. I particularly like #50 - The Writing Process, the part about collecting evidence. This is my favorite part of writing. I love collecting details and facts. I enjoy all the research. I guess that is why I love historical fiction.

The more we learn about sailing or writing, and the more we practice the better we will be. If you are anything like me, you need to get help from wherever you can.


Marsha Ward said...

Connie, amen to the practice. Keep on sailing and learning and writing!

Keith Fisher said...

Thanks for your blog. I enjoyed the anyalogy of Sailing. I wanted to point out something.
Many years ago, I was a sailing bum. I loved it, spent many days on Utah Lake and other places. There is a wonderful feeling that comes when you realize that you are traveling very fast and you are still "one" with nature. When the wind is right and your sails are trimmed. the boat leans to the leaward side, you pick up speed and the retractable keel cable hums as it passes through the water. At that point you realize you are on a perfect plain.
I have had simular feelings when I have been writing and my characters are talking to me. I realize what I am about to write is beyond (and better) than what I had intended, certanily beyond my ability. At that moment I realize I am on a perfect plain.
I thank God that he has given me the blessing of writing.
Even if it never gets published, I have the blessing of being on a perfect plain if only for a moment.
Thanks again for helping me remember the joy I have had in my life.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable blog. You're right--the more you sail, the better you get at it. The more you write, the better your writing becomes.