“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Richard Bach.
The big difference between an amateur and a professional writer can be summed up in one word: persistence.
There are several other words I could have used, words like perseverance and patience.
Writing is a long-term activity; very few – if any – successful writers are overnight success stories. Even the so-called overnight success stories are, in reality, the end result of many months and years or even decades of never quitting.
So good writing – and be persistent, persevere and patient – and never quit.
Ringneck Parrots clink
Their echoing flight through
Crisp dry mallee scrub.
(C) 2008 Trevor W. Hampel
All rights reserved.
One of the units I am currently studying for my Master of Arts course in Creative Writing includes writing poetry.
Since my teenage years I have often written poetry. Over the years I have written many hundreds of poems, many of dubious quality. Some of the better ones have been published in magazines. One was even a runner up in a poetry competition. (The prize was an extra copy of that issue.) So you could say I’ve always had a keen interest in writing poetry.
It was with eager anticipation then that I commenced the unit of study on writing poetry. This study has taught me several things.
- Some my earlier poems need a great deal of rewriting; they are truly appalling, especially those written in my teen years.
- The second thing I learned was that any poem, no matter how good, can probably do with at least some reworking, rewriting, editing, tightening or general improvement of some sort.
- The third thing I have learned is that I cannot afford to be too precious about my writing. Each poem we wrote was work-shopped in a tutorial group. This included reading the poem aloud and then getting constructive feedback from the group. It was so confronting yet very stimulating and helpful. At times I realised that I had not entirely grasped the exercise requirements. I learned quickly.
Having learned what I have about poetry this last term, I hesitate to make a link to the poetry pages on this blog, but if you are game you might want to read some of my poetry here.