Writer versus Author

A good writer is skilled in the technical art or crafting verse and prose.

An author is the person with the vision to craft a compelling story, an involving saga.

A person can be a great writer and a mediocre author. I’ve read many a novel that was perfect in technical terms, but dull as watching paint dry and unable to summon even one true emotion from the reader.

And I’ve read the polar opposite. The stories written with average skill that touched the hearts of millions.

You can always teach an author to be a better writer, but there are no guarantees that a skilled writer will ever be able to germinate the idea that can move mountains (of readers).

As any author can show you, the story comes first. If a great story comes to you, start writing, no matter your skill level. Get your great story out there.

Write Naked

One of the most fun things about attending a writer’s conference is taking a class with an instructor who approaches writing in the exact opposite way that you do.

Sunday, 8 am. There I was in Anne Randolph’s “Write Naked” class.
My mere presence in her class was the opposite of my usual method.
Those who write paranormal stories usually favor writing at night.
(who would have thought?)

The reason why she wanted us there in the morning is because our “filters” are off.
Her approach: Put a pen to paper, and off you go. Write something. Don’t think, don’t plan, just write.

I’m one of the most methodical, analytical writers you will ever meet.
I plan out my course of action before I type a word.
Hell, I even “edit” myself when I talk to people. I’m not disposed to brief snips of chit-chat (or I’d be on Twitter!)
When I say something, it’s deliberate. And I’ll use more than 140 characters to do it. 😈

The prime motivation of Anne’s class is to motivate those writers who are stuck in their progress. Free your mind. Get going. Write something. Every day.

I’m not one who is “stuck”, mind you. One day, I write. The other, I don’t. And I must say I somewhat disagree with one of her key points, that you should write every day, just to stay fresh. Yes, you have to learn the art of writing. By doing. But when you learn skills, the point is to retain them. Writing is like riding a bicycle. Once you get to a certain skill level, you are changed on a fundamental level.

Like work. I know my job so well, I can take a month off, then go back to work as if I’d never left. Hell, I could take a year off, and jump right back in. I kid you not.

So why in the world was I in her class?
To challenge my usual modus operandi (method of operation).
Could I just go in there, early Sunday morning, and bang out something straight from the dark recesses of my mind?

I came up with a tale about a suicidal Twilight fan touring Forks, who wants to die in the upstairs bedroom of the “Cullen house” (with all the attendant “Edward watching in the window” fantasies), and the tour bus driver is trying to talk her out of it.

I challenged myself, and succeeded. The above story is an intriguing and unique premise. Yes, I could invert my regular M.O. and still create.

Thank you, Anne Randolph, for allowing me to see the creative process from the “opposite side” of my usual method.