Everything I know about writing I learned from either: experience, books on the craft, or industry insiders. Blogs have not made my list. And here I am, on a blog of all places, trying to help other writers. The irony of this gave me a solid pause.
After much head-scratching, I remembered. There was one blog I followed in the past! A small website ran by a professor of English literature. I read everything he wrote. Unfortunately, he gave up after twenty or so posts and has taken down the blog since.
I never sent the man a message saying how much I appreciated his articles, which I now regret.
That blog, even though short-lived, taught the most amazing no bullshit approach to writing I ever came across. Writing is a lot of hard work, the guy said, it’s not for everybody. And yes, it is art, but there are rules in place for good reason, and it’s arrogant to ignore them because you feel you’re above such things. Do so, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Were his articles on writing more valuable than hundreds other such pieces online? No. But I decided to trust the author, and it was as if that trust made the information more relevant to me. Which makes perfect, messed up kind of a sense.
Think about the books on the craft you read. In all likelihood you picked up something:
- From an author you trusted (a good reason why Stephen King’s On Writing is so popular),
- that had content so impressive that you’ve decided to trust the author based on their expertise (Structuring Your Novel by K. M. Weiland was that kind of a book for me)
I think this says a lot about the nature of learning. Trust has the power to turns emotionally detached information, a webpage you save for later, to something that you value because it can help you grow.