Friday, 12 March 2010

Humility and the Writer

Humility for the writer can be good and bad.

Good humility: What is good humility? If you've ever read a great book, with great writing, great plot, and great characters, and when you've put it down, thought, 'I wish I could write as good as that author.' That's good humility. As long as you then went on and fed your ambition, used that humility to good use. Never think you're God's gift to writers. Never think editing will no longer apply to you. Never think you've learned all that you could learn. Never stop writing.

Bad humility: This is when you become too humble. This is when you read these great classics and think, 'I could never write like them, my life is too boring, I can't think of anything original to write about.' Stop it! Maybe we were taught not to show off or not to think we are special but remember, many of the classics (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Old Man and The Sea) are tales, not of kings and queens but of ordinary heroes or heroines living ordinary lives feeling ordinary feelings.

Would we like Bridget Jones as much if she wasn't so ordinary?

Remember, readers want to recognize the characters and their emotions. It is the writing not the writer's experience that really matters.

How can you acquire good humility? Read. Read and study great writing. Be humbled by it, strive to be the best writer you can be. Never be satisfied with where you are as a writer but where you could be with more time and more effort.

Source: The Writer's Way

Great post today about the writing process at Mystery Writing is Murder. Elizabeth has a guest author.

Another great post from Women of Mystery about readers.

Please note, I will be away for the weekend. I will post my Saturday Writing Quotation Examination and my Sunday Shakespeare's Sonnet if I can find internet. But, I will be back Monday. If I haven't read or commented on your blog, well, now you know why. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Kimberly Franklin said...

Great post. I'll admit that I've suffered from the "bad" humility before. Luckily, I recovered. : )

Jaydee Morgan said...

I think this is a great post also. You're right, ordinary does not have to mean boring. Thanks for that.

Kit Courteney said...

Excellent post.

Nicely timed :0)

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting stuff. I've got to get a little braver.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks, guys, glad you liked it... hopefully I will be able to post my weekend's written and just waiting to be posted... We'll see.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Carol Kilgore said...

Great post. Something we should remember in writing and in our lives. Thanks.

Martin Edwards said...

I agree, a very good post.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I like this approach, an excellent reminder!

Talli Roland said...

Great post! I like how you've set this out. Thanks!

V said...

great post!! And you are right. Read,read and read more before you can write decently.

Jim Murdoch said...

I think even “bad humility” as you call it can have a positive spin. It stops you punching above your weight. And there have been times when I’ve read a bad book and thought: I can do better than that. That doesn’t make me conceited. What we need to strive to find is a balanced view of who we are. I’m never going to write like Samuel Beckett but that’s not a bad thing. Beckett wrote like Beckett and did it better than anyone else. What we need to believe is that there is still more to be said. You would think that every love song that could have been written has been but people keep churning out catchy new ones. Believing in oneself isn’t indicative of a lack of humility. Rather it’s evidence of a growing confidence, learning what we’re good at and developing those talents.

An interesting take. Thought provoking.

Ann Elle Altman said...

I have only a few minutes of internet here (I'm dying) but I thought I would read the comments and thank you for it. Thank you.


J.L. Campbell said...

This reminds me of the blog I wrote about my inferiority complex in my writing. You hit the nail on the head though. Never stop learning and keep reading good writing. Thanks!