I've had no formal training in creative writing. I can tell when I sit to create that I'm missing something. I feel the knowledge gap as I type. I lack certain tools and knowledge on how to use them. I've decided what I need is a back-to-school moment.
I've order a highly recommended textbook on creative writing. It's used in a lot of creative writing classes at universities. I'll be spending my next couple of months self-educating and learning some aspects of the craft. It is something I know I need to do.
I heard it said that one can learn to bake. If you do it regularly your baking will improve. You learn from your own mistakes. But there's something to be said about learning tricks of the trade. Sure you may stumble on them yourself and your skills would develop. But there are tools and methods that cannot be stumbled upon. If you know you want to make muffins, you need a muffin pan. It's also good to know that spraying the pan with non-stick spray helps. That's what I'm missing. I don't have certain tools, nor do I know how to use them.
Currently, my writing is coming along slowly, but it's coming along. I need more self-discipline. I suffer from random distractions such as the election, football season, fantasy football, television. The world is screaming at me. Aside from time with my family, the instances where I feel like time wasn't wasted come after a productive writing session.
I'm knee deep in what started as a short story. The plot thickened and it became a novelette. On my second run through it, I had to add a few more scenes. Now it's ballooned into a novella. There are some aspects of the plot which I need to tighten up. Ultimately, it's a side story to my bigger novel, which I hope to get back to when my writing improves.
One of my favorite distractions is making cover art for my stories. I would say this is wasted time, but it helps me visualize characters and settings. Here's a cover for the novella I'm currently working on. Let me know what you think. What works? What doesn't work? What does the cover say to you?
Meet Kolka (more about her later).