Thinking about the recent post regarding members of my writer’s group has made me think a little more about the writer’s path. So I wanted to add a postscript to the previous post.
Quite a while ago I read a book on writing that I believe was actually called The Writer’s Path. To be honest I wasn’t too impressed and felt the whole book would have been stronger as an article. It seemed like there was a lot of repetition. But one thing that stuck with me was when the authors compared the writer’s path to musical chairs. They drew an image of a circle of chairs and writers sinking down onto the chair that was right for them at that moment. They talked about beginner writers and polished writers, but they said that we revisit that beginner writer chair every time we start a new piece. Hence the circle of chairs rather than a linear path.
I believe that to be true. There are two beginner writers in us. The one when we are first starting out as a writer, and the one we become each time we face a new, unknown, unwritten story. As we move along in our writer’s life we of course collect tools to improve. In that way we leave the beginner behind and grow into that intermediate writer. But when we start that new piece, our tool belt hangs on the back of our chair until we have faced that new beginning.
When I talked about the members in the writer’s group in the previous post, I’m not sure I was clear enough about what I was thinking. A beginning writer means so much more than simply someone new to the craft itself. Each word we place in our story is a symbol of both the growth of the writer and the growth of the piece, from beginning, through middle, to end.
I suppose that means that after ending the story as a confident, polished writer, we must walk away from the story, bury ourselves in the editing process, and then resurrect ourselves in the next, brand new beginning. Interesting. I’ve thought of writing as beginning, middle, end, but never as birth, life, rebirth. Makes the craft of writing sound mighty lofty doesn’t it?
Anyway, just wanted to add a further thought on what it means to be a beginner at writing. At least for me.