One of the most practical takeaways I gleaned from a writers conference years ago was the encouragement to write well-rounded.
Writing well-rounded builds layers of average, uncomfortable, perseverant terrain to create a journey made up of insightful steps.
So how does one write well-rounded?
Take any writing opportunity and give it a go. Learn. Refine. Grow.
Write for your personal blog.
Write for a newspaper. For magazines. For your church.
Start that book proposal. Finish that proposal. Go back at it a zillion times if necessary and refine along the way.
Be curious. Ask questions. Seek stories at every turn.
Writing well-rounded offers depth to your words, your voice, your unique way of taking life in and exhaling it out.
In the writing world it can appear as though writing a book is the cat’s meow, as if once obtained it’s smooth sailing. Ha! As I sat in a workshop taught by an author who has written over 30 books, I was reminded how book writing is just a piece of the pie. It’s valuable, but not any more than the mom who pours her heart out on her blog, or a free-lance writer, or a passionate journalist.
More writing experiences create more writing experiences. They add character, wrinkles, deep layers to a writer’s words.
I’ve taken that author’s advice to heart and keep her wisdom in mind when I get antsy with blogging. It’s a cue that stagnation is looming. Isn’t that true for any area? So I reach out to creative communities to join a team, to learn from others, and to share my journey as a writer. I’ve sent articles to newspapers. I’ve heard yesses. I’ve heard nos. I’ve sought creatives and asked for advice only to be met with crickets. It’s all part of the process.
It’s not personal. It’s writing fuel.
Writing well-rounded forces me to stay fresh. If I stay in the office, with my knees tucked under, staring at a computer all day, I become one-dimensional. I crave a writing community in the same way my heart longs for intimate friendships and time with people. And the exquisite truth about people is we are all unique. We represent variety in the same way a beach walk invites various foundations. To one side the cool ocean floor, another step is hard packed sand, then dry sand, then another hop and pavement meets feet, then suddenly there’s a bridge, then concrete, then grass. In just a few steps, we encounter much variety.
How I want my writing to emulate those varying steps.
Failure deepens focus. If I try a medium and completely flop, I don’t see it as a loss, but a detour toward a better fit. I learn where I can grow, smile at the new wrinkle, and chalk it up to discovering fresh ground to walk on, which includes falling and jumping back up.
I’m convinced pushing into well-roundedness encompasses all areas of life. If I only go about the same ways in marriage, parenting, baking, I tend to feel stale. I’m hungry for new mediums, colors, perspectives, textures, tastes. I want a variety of music to dance to, new books to learn from, honest advice to ponder.
Well-rounded, you are a never-ending teacher.
Do you find being well-rounded in your specialty is true? How so?
Cheers to pursuing well-roundedness, Friends. And I suddenly have a hankering for pie 😉