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.