Agony first, ecstasy second
by John R. Peetrson
As you and your contributors have noted, reading is essential; lots of reading and extra reading in fact cannot be emphasized enough. But I noticed, in my case, that extra writing helps almost as much. I have posted movie reviews, political comments and article follow-ups in the hundreds, several hundred according to a last count; I’ve done so on widely read blogs and specialty sites; ones which allow me to get feedback. That feedback was agony at first, but in time and with practice, that improved as I believe my skills are improving. I now feel, dare I say it, ecstasy when I write something I feel proud to post and for which positive feedback trickles back. As a famous writer said in a recent interview, that words didn’t start to really flow until she was two thirds the way into her novels, and then it’s pure joy. I’ve read and heard similar comments from other famous authors. If or when you reach that point, you’ll know that was true. By the way read all you can from the authors you most admire and like; you’re likely to get valuable input.