A few years ago when I first heard that phrase, I really hated it. I thought it was the stupidest expression ever. It wasn't that I didn't understand what it meant, it just sounded silly, ridiculous. Hone your craft? Craft for me means glitter, glue, and popsicle sticks. So was I supposed to sharpen and shape my...popsicle stick hut??
I never correlated writing with being a "craft". And some people say that writing isn't a "hobby" and how dare we say that! Well, technically, working on crafts is a hobby, so why ISN'T writing ok to say is a hobby if we're saying it's a craft? Who cares, quite frankly? That's how I see it. Call it whatever the heck you want!! But whatever you call it, find out how you can "hone" it. *cringes*
Lately, I decided to take my Viking story and give it a major honing. I honed the crap out of it. I even removed several scenes and replaced the beginning storyline, effecting other scenes. A lot was rewritten, and I was drafting my already finished book all over again. I decided what must stay and what must go and what just simply had to be new. It took me all summer and into the beginnings of fall to finish. I didn't get to give it the time I wanted with accepting more hours at work, and giving my kids a summer that I was present for as much as possible. And, seriously, some days I didn't want to look at it.
When I was done, I wondered if the storyline even made sense. If I left threads out. If I had just a scatter of yarn balls and cats playing in there. I outlined each chapter and the scenes. To my surprise (and tears) everything was accounted for!
Next, I began adding in emotional and interior thoughts, while cleaning spots, too. But, when I went back a few chapters to correct something, I found my beginning was too strong and the rest like rubber. Literally, I was like "eff my life!". Now, I'm back to the beginning chapters, weeding out all the crap left and right. I'm finding the story hidden beneath the over use of fertilizer.
I could sit here and be really, really mad that I had to go back. I'm not though. I'm happy that by working on it and reading books along the way, I am sculpting my clay. I am glittering my paper. I am sticker-ing my scrapbook. I am honing my craft. I am practicing even if on the same piece of
If a craft example isn't your thing, how about: The only way to master a 3-pointer in basketball is to keep shooting over and over and over. Same ball. Same hoop. And sometimes, the same spot. Adjust your hands. Adjust your footing. Adjust your strength. Soon - swish.
What about you? How long did it take until you found your niche in something? What helped you figure out what you were doing wrong or gave you the boost you needed in the right direction?