The tools of the trade. When I think of that phrase, I think of a toolbox. Wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers. Or perhaps the toolbox of a chef; spices, ladles, pots and pans.
But what about the writer? What about me? What are my tools of the trade? It's an interesting question to say the least. As a career author and the owner of a small publishing house, I can honestly say that my tools of the trade are many and varied - almost difficult to explain at times. Yet they are just as solid and as needed as a chef's spice rack or a mechanic's tools.
I frequently teach creative writing classes - one of my favorite things to do - and I always make sure I focus on the creative side of writing rather than the technical side. I like to encourage unique style and ingenuity in writing, and people can't really do that unless they let go of the "rules" and just dive right in. Yes, of course there are rules in writing, but sometimes you have to shake off those inhibitions to get your story started. This is my first tool: creative freedom. A writer must have the ability and the skill to be creatively free with his or her work. You can't worry about what people will think; you have to write it like you feel it, like you see it. Even when you've got a massive fan base giving you pressure to do different things to your story, you've got be creatively free.
My second tool is experience. You cannot know what good writing looks like until you've written something that sucks first. I worked as a journalist in high school, writing thousands of articles for thousands of clients. I was very, very busy. The more I wrote, the more I realized what I shouldn't be doing - I realized what I needed to do less of and more of. Once you recognize good writing in yourself, you can recognize it everywhere. Experience. Get lots of it.
My third tool is passion. Ah, a writer must be passionate about what they do. It is the only way to enjoy your career, after all. Furthermore, a writer who is passionate about their story will have a higher quality of work than someone who is not. Your excitement about your work is perhaps the most important element here - without passion you will not be encouraged to write.
My fourth and final tool today is patience. Know that writing is a skill that God gives you, and you have the ability to refine it. It may take years, but it will be worth it. So the best tool you can have is patience. Be patient and work hard; your endurance will pay off in the long run. I guarantee it.
This post was sponsored by Webucator, a leading online-based learning company with online and on-site instructor-led training classes for both technical and business training.