An Aspiring Writer's Blog Site

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 . . .

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5 responses

  1. How do I say this with tact? I don’t know, maybe I don’t and, more importantly I hope I don’t offend.

    You’re decisions (there’s that dreaded word again) are your own, and I can totally appreciate that; but I would love to see you plow through my good man. Don’t get caught up in style, grammar, and the like. If you find classics hard to read or a droll, don’t do it, except maybe in small bits; hard exercises where you intensely focus and then let it all go and get back to writing.

    If you are a rambling writer (less negative than it sounds) than by all means do so. Be the writer you’re meant to be and all that (whatever that means.)

    I hope you find these words encouraging, I hope you don’t think I’m attacking your choices, I hope to help. That is all. Good Luck Dan!

    Oh, BTW nice change to the blog, you are turning a whole new leaf aren’t you?

    And, if you ever want someone to bounce ideas off of; I’d be happy to help. Let me know, any time alright?

    August 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    • Hey, Nate. No, no. I don’t take any offense. I think I see where you are coming from. Above all, I write because its fun. I don’t want to disturb that. However, if I want to be a better writer, I feel I need to get my fundamentals down. It will be a balancing act for sure, but this is the direction I want to go. I’ll keep everyone posted on my journey. I can feel free to change direction at any time.

      Your thoughts are very much appreciated and I also thank you for offering to be a sounding board for bouncing off ideas. I may have to take you up on that.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      • Well, I’m here. I don’t know why but I want to help. You seem like a good person and out of everyone I’ve talked with on here, you’ve been one of the coolest, most active people here and it seems that you’re…I don’t know, having difficulties.

        That being said, I’ll help in whatever way I can. Just because…

        I’ll toss you my email or something if you want a critque or anything. Like I said, anything.

        August 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      • I appreciate that, Nate. Good to see nice guys like you out and about. I guess I may not look it, but I’m actually doing ok. Just shifting down into first for a little while.

        August 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      • Good metaphor, my dad’s a truck driver and I’m an avid driver so that was perfect.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm

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