I get the feeling that when new writers ask veteran writers how to get better at writing–essentially asking, like Dr Strange, “How do I get from here to there?”–very few want to hear that it takes years of dedicated practice to develop the skills to get you from Here to There.
Here’s what that is: a filtering system.
But I am not about to say it’s a good filtering system.
What happens when new writers hear this information is decide whether they still want to continue this Writing Thing when it takes years and years to get anything out of it. Some will decide it’s worth it. Many others, sadly, won’t.
It saddens me to think of all the new writers who decided it wasn’t worth it. Imagine how many immediately (or eventually) decided that they didn’t have the discipline or whatever to improve. Imagine what the world has lost because of that filtering system.
The reigning delusion is that talent = success and that if someone has reached success (in this case, publishing), then that person must therefore be talented.
This is not the case. (And this is, by the way, going with the argument that talent is subjective. We all have our opinion on what talent is, and my opinion is that too many people who I consider untalented are successful.)
Here’s my hope for you. Forget the filtering system. Forget standards and expectations. Forget the future. Every morning, ask yourself this question: Do I want to create something today? Standards and Expectations don’t have a say in the answer. You answer from your creative self.
Here’s the trick. If ever the answer is no, do it anyway. Because with Standards and Expectations off somewhere else, like mowing Satan’s never ending lawn or something, nothing you could possibly create today can fail. The only way to fail is to not create anything at all.
Watch what happens when the benchmark is “something.” Not “something great” or “something mind blowing” but rather just “something.”