Monday, October 22, 2018

Honing Your Craft

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
work.

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?


22 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Soon it will sparkle just like that star!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm sure all that honing will pay off!

The Silver Fox said...

Sounds great, as long as one doesn't overdo it. I remember a comic book parody of Robinson Crusoe where he chopped down an enormous tree, sawed off a good-sized chunk of it, and then used a a smoothing plane to make it smaller, and smaller, and smoother, and smoother, until finally he had the result he'd wanted: A toothpick!

Tammy Theriault said...

Oh my word...hahah

Tammy Theriault said...

I sure hope so!!

Tammy Theriault said...

Yes!!

Elephant's Child said...

I am nicheless but love the sparkle and glitter that artists of all kinds (but writers in particular) impart to my day.

JoJo said...

I couldn't take my eyes off that blue glittered star. haha Of course writing is a craft. Anything creative is a craft...even cooking!

Tammy Theriault said...

Same!

Tammy Theriault said...

Right??

Mark Noce said...

In some ways it's an ongoing process, as an author, always challenging oneself. Every book feels like a foray into the unknown:)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I did major honing of my first manuscript for about 10 years. It's good to recognize when it's needed and enjoy the process of doing it. Glad to see you blogging. Miss you!

Tammy Theriault said...

Yes! Agreed

Tammy Theriault said...

Miss you, too!!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm always honing. Seems there is always some honing to do.

Glad to hear your Viking story is shaping up!

Tammy Theriault said...

Honing should be banned. Haha!

Heather R. Holden said...

Wow! Your dedication to this Viking story is so impressive. Amazed by all the work you've poured into it!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

LOL. You always give such interesting takes on things. I think of the craft of writing like the craft of a weaver or someone else who makes a living with their talent, not craft as in arts-n-crafts day at summer camp.
I'm so impressed with your dissection and serious operation you're doing on your work. Hone away!

Tammy Theriault said...

I love your cheerleading. I hope you get to read it someday!

Tammy Theriault said...

Thanks, love!! This is quite the craft project! lol

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Good for you for working so hard on your story; it definitely sounds like you've made a lot of progress on it. And I agree that writing is a craft, though I think that a lot of other people don't seem to get that. I think that they don't realize how important it is to put more time and effort into it, especially because they care more about publication than writing.

Tammy Theriault said...

And the only way to be published is good writing!