Appreciating Rudiments and Metronome
A long time ago, I used to be a drummer. I had some aversion to learning to be better, though. I valued flash over substance. Being a better drummer to me meant looking cooler and coming up with some interesting sounds while I played. If I could make the girls drool, all the better. I wasn’t interested in perfecting my craft: rudiment practice and metronome exercises were a bore. In the end, I may have looked cool, but as far as being a drummer, I was mediocre. Its because I ignored those fundamentals.
Its a lesson I’m taking to heart for becoming a better writer as I hit the reset button on my writing career. I can’t forget craft.
So, this is what I’m going back to. Since making my decision on putting the Gideon Plan to the side, I’ve come up with some fundamentals to focus on.
- Read often and in various genres.
- Be sure not to ignore the classics.
- Write short stories.
- Study grammar and writing style.
- Be a better observer of the human condition and the world around me.
- Keep a writer’s journal recording my thoughts about writing.
- Keep a list of story ideas that may or may not come to fruition.
I got some concerns with a few of these.
- Read often: I read slow and I want to learn as much as I can from a story. If I’m slow, it will take me a longer time to learn. To solve this, I’m going to try to read shorter works of fiction, short stories mostly, so that will help with speed and also help dissect the story for study.
- The Classics: Egh. I just finished reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Color me unimpressed. For me, its like that with a lot of classics. I don’t dig them. Solution- I’m going to try and focus on the classical writers I know I like (Twain for example) and also writers of short fiction (Poe, Chekhov)–if they suck, I don’t have to put up with them for long. Also, for those I don’t like, I’ll try to build a good case why I don’t like them.
- Writing Short Stories– I wrote short stories about ten-fifteen years ago. It didn’t come easy for me. I like writing stories where I have more time to explore. Also getting ideas for a short story was sometimes like trying to get water out of rock. However, writing short stories will strengthen my plot and story arc muscles, which are a little on the weak side.
- Grammar and Style– Strunk and White needs to be dusted off. In the past, this book has helped me but little. I just don’t get it (I can be dense). Fortunately, my wife is smarter than I am. I’ll ask her to help me with these things.
And off I go . . .