Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mentoring Yourself : Is It Possible?

But, how does the Writer's Invisible Mentor (WIM) teach you to mentor yourself? Is it possible? Is it possible for this blog to guide you so you can learn not only to write well, but know that you are writing well and recognize when you're writing is not great? Can the WIM then guide you through fixing your writing? Is it possible?
Can you really learn to write from books / blogs?
The answer to all these questions is, yes.

Not only can you learn to write from books, but you must learn to write from books. You must learn to evaluate your own writing as if it is someone else's and then implement the changes that make your writing better. For only you really know what form your writing should take. You cannot depend upon others and you should not. Your writing is your voice, your expression, your art. If it is not that, then you may as well chuck it all now.

How Will This Blog Fulfill the Goal?

WIM Foundations
The Writer's Invisible Mentor is entirely founded upon two main principles:
1. Learn By Doing (LBD)
2. Mind At Rest (MAR)

Let's talk for a moment about Learn By Doing, because that will lead us into an understanding of how important mentorship is to writers.

Learn By Doing (LBD)
To learn to write, you must write.
There are two reasons that statement has become a cliché within writing circles:
1. It's true
2. It's important

However, no matter how true and important the statement may be, if you cannot judge between great writing and terrible writing, then filling the world with your journals will not necessarily make you a great writer.

Balanced Evaluation of Your Work
There has to be a balanced evaluation of your work. Without a balanced evaluation, your writing will not change. If your writing never changes, then you will not grow as a writer. If you do not grow as a writer you'll be relegated to scribbling in notebooks and writing blog entries that are never read. [Maybe I am a blog entry that is never read by anyone. ;-) ]

Must Understand Great Writing
To obtain a balanced evaluation of your writing, you must have two things:
1. healthy self esteem
2. writing tools, which allow you to recognize Great Writing

WIM Axioms
These two axioms come from another WIM belief that we'll touch upon much more in later blog entries. It states:
There are only two writing problems:
1. Emotional problems
2. Technical problems

Viewing Your(self) Work From a Distance
The kind of healthy self esteem I'm talking about here is the ability to view yourself and your work from a distance. You must be able to view it as if someone else wrote it. You must be able to separate the work from who you are. If you are unable to do that, unless you are a literary genius -- and maybe even if you are -- two things are going to happen:
1. You are going to become very bitter.
2. You're writing is going to stagnate

If you fight for every word you write, you are going to turn inward and become bitter. If you become bitter, you are not going to allow your work to change and if you do not change you will not grow and you'll never become a great writer.

Invested Time Often Equals Love
When you spend 15 or 20 hours writing a chapter of your novel or a scene from your short story, you are going to become attached to your work.
I know, because I've done it too.

Determine right now that just because you've spent a lot of time writing the chapter or story you will not allow yourself to become so attached to it that you will not change it, unless... Unless you truly determine that it is Great Writing.

But, what is Great Writing? Is it even possible to define great writing?

WIM Defines Great Writing
The WIM defines Great Writing with two simple statements:
1. Clear writing
2. Writing that works for the situation -- Please see Gary Provost's book, Make Your Words Work.

Clear Writing
Clear writing is easy to define. Clear writing is writing that your readers understand. They get your point. The words transform from words on the page, into images in their minds.

Writing That Works
How do we define writing that works? How can you tell if the writing works for the situation? Don't you need a Great Writing Master to tell you what works?

No...and yes. You do not need someone else to tell you when or if your writing is great.

Instead, you need to learn to use some common tools that will allow you to evaulate your own writing, so that you become the Great Writing Master of your own kingdom. You will know when your writing is great and when it is falling short. That's the power of the guidance that the Writer's Invisible Mentor provides. It's empowerment to each writer.

But, since this entry is far too long already, you'll have to join me next time when we'll explore in more detail what those tools are and how you'll learn to use them.

Yes, I know we have only touched upon LBD (Learn By Doing) and we still need to discuss MAR (Mind At Rest). Next time we should finish up with LBD and explain MAR.
See you then.

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