Monday, October 10, 2011

Writer, Who Supports You?

I’m working on two fairly large building projects; a shed/ studio and a bathroom addition for my mother. It’s been awhile since I’ve undertaken any project this size for some time and my body is telling me with a clear voice that I need to stop pretending that I’m twenty-five.

I slept well two nights in a row. No agitation of the mind, no worrying over a story or a blog post.

( I can say that last night I thought, as I hovered between dream and wakefulness, that I was still working because I kept jerking my right arm in a motion of hammering. Needless to say, there was no cuddle time with the wife as she tried to avoid my sudden swinging.)

On thought this morning was how I could tell that my shed was turning out well. As my father-in-law and I built the base, put up the walls, we checked for level and made sure it was plumb. We had tape measures and a level. Eighty-nine inches is eighty-nine inches and putting a level to a stud tells you if the wall is straight.

There’s nothing so easy with writing. There is no level to use to see if the building process works and really, when completed, a writing project executed perfectly, has no guarantee of being appreciated or pleasing.

I can make a building that won’t leak and one that will stand straight and serve the purpose for which it was made.

A writer needs something more. There are levels out there for writers, lots of them. They are found in the form of willing readers who will praise your work and tell you that what you’re doing is great. Most of those people are well-intentioned but not honest. A writer needs honesty and most people are too polite to be honest. Just because something sells, that doesn’t mean that it is level and square and plumb; it doesn’t mean it will keep the rain out.

It is difficult to find the person or the people who will act as the writing equivalent of a carpenter’s level. You need to find that person, that group because you sure as hell can’t go to wal-mart to buy one in the hardware department.

I was lucky. I married the person who keeps me straight and true; I have a family that is my foundation.

How about the rest of you? Who is there for you, or do you still need to find that person?


Joe Moody said...

I found a writers' group in my area that helps me polish my writing, reading to people who don't know me too well is a good way to test the waters of my latest works. I'll also be using my blog to post excerpts of my novel in progress.

Enjoying your blog. - Joe

MT Nickerson said...

Thanks for the comment Joe.

I've never been in a writing group other than a couple creative writing classes in college, but it certainly does help to have people who are objective and not motivated by trying to save your feelings.

And reading out loud is a great tip. It helps to hear what your writing sounds like to catch errors, especially with dialogue heavy writing. Very few people use proper english when speaking but too many writers are afraid of contractions.

I'll be sure to check out your blog and good luck with your novel.