Moving from the idea of putting in a lot of time painting to writing was a big, important psychological and creative shift. Choosing words over color was pragmatic: I do not have time to paint. I do have time to write. I can write early in the morning, at work, outdoors on the patio, at the library, or sitting on a bench in the park. In short, I can write just about anywhere. Painting, not so. But I can sketch.
This morning, I am going to my first of (I hope) many meetups with a local group of writers. We were sent stories and excerpts to read and to critique – what works, what doesn’t work – with the admonition to do more than say, “I like this!” or “This sucks!” Giving reasons for a like / dislike helps the writer, but it also helps the critic get in touch with his own writing.
Of course, we all have our preferences for reading matter, but reading things which are not to our liking is no reason to push it aside. My own prejudices have steered me away from otherwise good literature . . . just because I was told “You will like it!” or, worse, “You should read it! It’s a classic!”
I hate being told what I should like, should believe, and should do in any form. It’s the word should that makes me say “No!” immediately.
And sometimes, I am wrong. Thinking about what makes something work creates a different mindset in the reading altogether. I’ve learned something prior to even getting to the first meeting!