Recently I told y’all about my son’s new stray, adopted from the shelter. He’s good at training pups, and so his journey begins with Lucy. His other dog, Harper, has all sorts of commands and tricks under her belt, and was a quick study, but Lucy? Well, just consider her the second child . . . the one that teaches you as a parent that everything you learned about raising a child doesn’t necessarily work.
You can read more at his personal blog at Nanu’s Nation, where he’s been blogging about the little and big things in his life for going on eight years. Some of you already follow him. I’m rather proud of his online journal, but then….he’s my son.
But the point is Lucy is a two steps forward and one step back sort of pup. The methods my son used to train Harper aren’t necessarily working on Lucy.
Too often we think of our writing as a positive process. One where we write when we like, only about ideas we love, with the end results being a beautiful story the world will adore. Not the case at all. Good writing . . . writing that comes across as effortless in reading . . . is the result of hard, heart-breaking struggle.
But let’s say you wrote your first book, enjoyed the process, then started on the second. You figure you have this routine worked out now that you’re published. Like having children and raising pups, you soon learn that no two books are alike. They differ. Boy, do they differ. You get frustrated. You want to quit, but if you are responsible and diligent in writing, you weather through it. You learn the new tricks necessary. You develop new habits. The end result is a product you’re proud of and additional skills. And if you move on to book three, you’ll feel like you’ve adopted yet another stray, and all your previous magic just doesn’t work. You search for yet another way to write a good story.
But most of all, hopefully, you realize that you never “arrive.” Writing is a constant journey with no end in sight. Constant growth, never-ending change, and a perpetual need to focus on being better. An ongoing effort to create a different story and find new ways to fulfill the needs of writers,
Like rearing children . . . like raising pups. No two are mastered the same.