Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 279 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis





Remember when you were young and you couldn't wait for that day when you finally would have a driver's license so you could decide where you were going and what route you would take? You just knew that, when it happened, a world of adventure would open up. You'd no longer be relegated to the left seat, or worse, the back of the car, watching scenery passing by that didn't interest you, on your way to places you'd rather not go.
So what happened? You grew up, got the license, the car, oh, and the job to maintain it. You settled down some place close to the job and, eventually, settled into the routine of being a passenger in your own life.
Where did the passion go? Where's the fire? Why didn't the adventures happen? Well, the quick answer to that is, adventures rarely just "happen" outside of the stories you thought you'd be writing. They take planning, preparation, and the diligence and courage to see them through. Oh, there's also the OMG! factor. You know, when the plan falls apart and everything just goes south on you and there's only two alternatives. Sir Edmund Hillary, the British mountaineer of Everest fame, was once quoted as saying, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Nothing qualifies as an adventure if you don't stand a better than even chance of dying in the attempt."
It's pretty much the same thing as a writer. No one just 'becomes' a writer. There is planning, preparation, and the diligence and courage necessary to carry it off. You need to read good writing and tear it down to understand what makes it work. You need to read books on the art and craft of writing, and philosophy, and politics, and history, poetry, mythology, and on, and on. You need to let someone besides you read what you've written. This might be someone like my dear and beloved, Editor-in-Wife, (Hey, the praise is intended! She puts up with my whining for free.), or a BFF, or someone in a writer's group, or just someone who knows how to read, has done it more than once since leaving school, and can formulate input that is a little more in depth than, "Yeah. It"
You have to be disciplined. (No, Virginia, not like that! See me later.) You have to write a lot. Not when the inspiration, or muse, or whatever you want to call it strikes. All the damned time. You need to try writing things you're not comfortable with. Do you stick to one genre all the time? Think of its polar opposite and go for it. Always writing literary fiction? Try free verse poetry. (If you think it's easy to do well, you really aren't familiar with it.)
Reach out into the writing, publishing, and arts community around you. Take an active role in that milieu. Yes, you might step on your, uh, tongue occasionally, but that's what the whole thing's about. You try, fail, and try again. No one succeeds just because they think they should. They try until it happens. It's the same as getting the driver's license. You might fail a couple of times, but once you have it you're on your way. Just remember, the adventures won't come looking for you, you have to get behind the wheel and turn the key. Just make sure you've brought along a sack full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a road map.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane. Safe driving.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write about what you find along the way. That's the magic of being the driver.
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Dane F. Baylis

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