I have no qualms admitting that I am a very undisciplined writer. In fact, in regards to most things in life, I’m very day to day, very random. I don’t plan ahead.
Psalms 118:24 ‘This is the day Yahweh hath made: We will rejoice and be glad in it.’
My mother was a very spiritual person and having two brothers with Muscular Dystrophy helped ground me to this philosophy. The thought that tomorrow might never come for my brothers was a day to day fact of life. It was important we valued the ones we had been given and blessed with.
Writing is an art form and like John Cleese of Monty Python as the Pope in a scene speaking to Michelangelo, says, “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.”
I don’t have any writing degrees. What I know about writing, I’ve learned myself. In fact, I absolutely hated writing classes in school. I hated studying language, the hows and whys of proper sentence structure, tense, summary, punctuation, nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns, reciprocal pronouns, double negatives, conjunctions, modifiers, dangling modifiers, interjection, affectation, connotations … You get the point. I hated this stuff.
So how did I fall in love with writing?
Oddly, it didn’t come from reading. My idea of reading as a kid was comics, from Peanuts to Mad Magazine.
I still remember the very first time I enjoyed writing something.
For those who know me or attended Lakeshore Middle School, we had an English teacher, I believe it was 7th or 8th grade named (no joking) Ms. Oddbert. I may be wrong about the spelling which wouldn’t surprise me any.
Ms. Oddbert used to get on me about everything I wrote. She’d explain how I wrote WRONG and I would just stare at the stuff she highlighted in red and yellow marker like a deer in headlights. It was very frustrating and I hated going to that class!
And then one day it was warm outside and we got to leave the building. She took us to this big field nearby and said our assignment was to draw something out there with words.
I was just glad to be outside and plopped myself down in front of a big old tree. For some curious reason, I wrote about that tree, in detail. I don’t know what I wrote but I actually liked writing about that tree. I can still remember sitting out there under the sun, the words just flowing out. I was like, “Yeah, I can do this. How do I get a job sitting out in the field writing about trees and stuff?”
And even more curious, Ms. Oddbert loved what I wrote. All of it. It was the first and only perfect paper I received from her.
That was the first time I realized I liked writing. I still had no desire whatsoever to embrace the education and technical aspects of writing. And even now, in my fifties, I’m taking Carol Shields’ advice, “Write the book you want to read.”
I’ve read plenty of books by authors who are masters of the English language and obviously know a great deal more about the technical aspects of writing than I do, but their books bore me to no end.
Writing is an art. I don’t care how many times you tell me ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a classic – it’s not to me. I know what I like. And if I want to break a few rules of the English language because it works for me, I see that artistic license.
Now this doesn’t mean I am against anyone receiving an education and becoming a master of the English language. I believe the ability to communicate through writing is necessary for us as human beings.
And I am trying to improve my craft. I’m learning more every day about the rules and technical aspects of writing but I will not let it confine me. I like being undisciplined and random, it’s a big part of who I am as a person and a writer. And hopefully that freedom expression comes through in my characters and some readers see what I see and like what I like.
(You can check out my “art” – The Crystal Crux – Betrayal and The Crystal Crux – Blue Grotto, both available – Paperback and Kindle) Click Here – Amazon Allen M Werner