Friday, January 30, 2009


For our last post before we start in to Feb. I want to talk a bit about craft.

I am a huge advocate of "Writing the Breakout Novel" as a workbook but we're going to be even more general than that today.

What is craft? How do you develop it?

Craft is something that you have to work at. You may have natural talent [some of you may have incredible talent] but without craft you'll never reach your full potential.

One key to maturing as a writer is to recognize how much you don't know. When I wrote my first manuscript I thought it was the most brilliant set of words to ever land on paper. Truly, I was enamored with my genius. It was inconceivable that anyone could write something more riveting than that story.

When I placed in the top 20 of a writing contest...well, I knew I was already the champ. The story was destined for greatness. I stopped learning. I had arrived. Books would be written about my rise to fame. People would flock to learn from me.

That manuscript never went any further. I'm embarrassed that anyone ever saw it associated with my name!!

That is because I've grown in my craft.

As I begin to meet writers at higher and higher levels of success my belief in the greatness in humility is reinforced.

Humility is not self-depreciation. It is recognition of ones limitations and then the willingness to do what is necessary to push past them and grow as a writer. It is stepping outside your comfort zone and seeing yourself for who you really are.

It is like the scene in the movie "The Never-Ending Story" where the warrior realizes he's the boy in the attic [and vice versa]. Once he had that realization he was able to go further than he ever thought possible. He was able to do great things. Recognizing his limitations allowed him to exceed them.

That is what our craft can do. If we recognize that we are not good at writing dialog then we can recognize that limitation-and push past it. That is how we go up a notch.

Get together with a critique partner. Hire an editor to read the first 30 pages of your manuscript. Do something to find your weaknesses in craft.

Then, armed with that knowledge, get the tools to turn those weaknesses in to strengths.

Sunday starts the first day of the rest of our month. Get ready to break down barriers and push past limitations. Forget everything leading up to this moment.

Let's get going!

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

1 comment:

LLP said...

Amen to that! The sooner you learn you're not the monkey's pajamas, but you're actually wearing them (hehe), you can excel. This is true with anything, not just writing.

Thanks Tiff!! I'm ready and raring to push it up a notch! :)