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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Starving Artist: How to Improve Your Writing

I love art. When you read the word “art”, I’m sure your brain triggers thoughts of painting, and sculpture, perhaps a trip to a museum. I don’t believe art is that exclusive. Art can be a masterfully written essay, a heartfelt song, a beautiful bedtime story as well as the aforementioned painting, sculptures and the like. Being an artist of the written word, I have a great appreciation for fellow artists no matter their trade.
Something I have always regretted is not expanding my knowledge and abilities in the arts. I wish I had learned to play an instrument. I wish I could paint the sunset.  However, there is something these varieties of art participate in that I believe my specialty can benefit from borrowing. Musicians improve their understanding of tone and melodies by practicing, some of the best practice every day. Visual artists often hone their skills with daily sketches. Writers need to adopt this discipline.
Writing a memoir, fictional story or recount of history (among others) cannot be accomplished overnight. It can’t be finished in a week. It is undoubtedly the art with the longest investment in the completion of a single task. For some writers, like myself, the prized project could take years, a decade even. So how do you improve your wordsmith abilities? Even writing a short story or piece of poetry could wrap you into another assignment. Taking a page out of the musicians and visual artists’ playbook, I propose writers practice their skills with fifteen to thirty minute vignettes.
From now on, the majority of my writing specific posts will entertain this desire. Using a random list of objects, people and places I will write a piece for the allotted time in a free-flowing manner, neglecting my usual craving to edit. This sort of practice is something I suggest for all writers. I hope at over time for this drill to become a daily staple and something writers can share with each other.  

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