Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writing on Tuesday with Beth Fantaskey (Guest Post)

Hi guys! Today, the wonderful Beth Fantaskey dropped by to share about her writing experience!
Enjoy Writing on Tuesday with BETH FANTASKEY!

WARNING: This may be the most boring guest post on the subject of writing that you will ever read.

Well, I hope that the way I handle the topic won’t be boring, but the information, itself… It might be a little tedious.

That’s because, when it comes to the subject of writing, I don’t have a revelation that will help anyone transform into a “writer.” The best insight I can offer, from my own sometimes difficult experience, is that writing is something you have to practice.

There’s the boring word: practice.

For me, it conjures up images of kids being nagged to play piano when they’d rather play outside.

But as we all know, practice pays off. You can’t be good at sports, or music, or… anything, without repeating certain actions, again and again, and building your skills.

And yet, I get the impression that some people believe writing is the one talent you either “have,” or you don’t. That, if you were meant to write a novel or essay or poem worth reading, you should be able to sit down one day and expect it to pour from your fingertips.

Maybe that’s true for some people, but in my case, I practiced writing for 20 years before I even attempted a novel. I worked as a political speech writer and a journalist, writing every day, and learning as I worked. I was fortunate to have good editors who taught me a lot, and putting words on paper, 9-to-5, also helped me figure out how to organize my thoughts and develop my “voice.”

I look back at my first speeches, composed right out of college, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe. Or both. They’re HORRIBLE. The only thing that ever made me a “writer” – to the humble extent that I am – has been practice. Lots of it. Decades of it. And I’m still practicing.

I’m sure there are prodigies who are “born” to write, just like the one-in-ten-million child who picks up a violin and plays Mendelssohn on the first try. But I have a feeling that most of us are like me, and need to work at it.

So if your first attempt at a novel didn’t flow out of you as naturally as you hoped – just like mine didn’t – I hope you won’t give up, if it’s really your dream to get published. I hope you’ll sit down and try again. And again. And again… Just like I’m still doing today, as I write this essay, one paragraph of which took me more tries than I care to admit.

Good luck and keep going!

Practice makes perfect!
Thank you Beth for dropping by!


  1. This post was no way boring :) Beth ! It is real good advice . I also happen to be reading your book, Jessica's Guide currently and the writing is awesome ..

    Thanks for this Beth and Precious :)

  2. Thanks Shweta! And I agree! It wasn't boring at all! :)