The struggles of an amateur writer

It is true that most amateur writers feel like beggars constantly tugging at the sleeves of uninterested passers-by. It is true that most amateur writers feel like there are too many writers and too few readers. They have to build and maintain a relationship with individual readers; entice them to pick up their works competing with other pressures; work, family, social media, movies.

It is true that most amateur writers feel like beggars constantly tugging at the sleeves of uninterested passers-by. It is true that most amateur writers feel like there are too many writers and too few readers. They have to build and maintain a relationship with individual readers; entice them to pick up their works competing with other pressures; work, family, social media, movies.

As a writer you get to play god, literally. At times you are the God of the New Testament; ruthless, jealous and at the same time generous. At other times you are no longer that God, you are no longer the judge, you are judged. You are at the readers’ and editors’ mercy. 

You send in pieces, you wait, you get ignored, you get rejected or you get criticised. It may be hard to believe but rejection and criticism can be good for your art. The necessary bruises and these should be worn like battle scars; from rejection and criticism will see you learn to grab readers’ attention and never to take it for granted. 

From rejection and criticism, you grow and stand a better chance of commanding an audience. You develop a distinct style and voice that are uniquely yours. A style and voice that only you claim. Rudyard Kipling had mystery, always leaving motions in shadows and Tony Mochama has a poetic prose. 

To develop the two, you begin by studying other writers’ styles and eventually develop your own. In literature, everyone is somebody’s spiritual child. But be keen not to follow your masters too slavishly applying their style too laboriously.  

Rudyard Kipling taught that style is an outcome of constraint. The resistance of the material is the most important as seen in hand wrought iron work or sculptured stone.  The path to mastering the art is through rejection and criticism in search of Style and an audience. If we stick to it long enough we shall prevail.  

Have Your SayLeave a comment