Amassing the Arsenal.

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Once again I have been motivated to write by something I heard on the radio, a passing comment made during a documentary about playing bass guitar.

While on the surface one might ask what has a guitar, or playing music, got to do with writing fiction, or writing anything for that matter?

I agree that it is a valid question, because when you play music you usually play in front of an audience. You may practice alone, or with a small group of musicians, but when it comes to getting your art ‘out there’ you seek an audience. It is a public performance.

Whereas, for us writers, we have a rather insular art form in comparison. We write alone, proofread alone, edit and re-write alone. Sometimes we may ask someone to read our work, to give feedback or to help proof it. But generally writing is a reclusive business. When our work is complete, and published, it is read by one person at a time.

Well, that is generally the case. The author may give sample readings, a few paragraphs, chapters, or a selected portion of their latest novel during a promotional tour, or at a book signing. Reading or writing clubs may share a session, as may students, to analyse and critique your work. But these are rare examples. It is not customary for authors to perform on stage, reading aloud to an audience.

So where, and how, I hear you ask, do I associate the comments in that radio broadcast about playing bass guitar to writing.

It is quite simple. The remarks were about perfecting ones art. The presenter spoke of how nice it is, and I quote, ‘To hear someone who knows what they are doing, doing the thing they do so well’. The presenter then said that when a musician ‘let’s rip in a one mad burst, it is a magnificent thing to behold’.

I shall not argue or decry those observations because I wholeheartedly agree. When a well-practised artist performs to the height of their ability it is a truly wonderful thing indeed.

But it is getting to that peek, reaching the level of talent and knowing when to use it to perform. That is the key to becoming excellent in your chosen field.

Before we can even consider getting up onto that stage, and baring our artistic soul to the world at large, we must have ascertained the required skills and built up the confidence to stand there and strut our stuff without the slightest doubt, without the possibility of making total fools out of ourselves.

To reach that objective we must practice, and all practice is, is building up your creative arsenal, amassing the skills and techniques that will make you a creative force to be reckoned with.

If you are new, or relatively new, to the world of writing and publishing it is wise to remember that it is a very lonely and frustrating world at times, at most times.

If you are planning or writing a novel, you are biting off a huge chunk of optimistic expectation, and while I do not want you to stop, or for my words to put you off writing, I do ask you this. Have you built up your arsenal of skills and talent to the level which you feel confident of standing before a crowd reading your work out aloud? Could you perform your work to an audience?

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I have been writing for some time, and I am working on another novel. Yet at this moment I do not have enough of it written to the standard that I would feel comfortable reading it out aloud, reading it to a critical group of spectators.

So, I carry on writing other works at the same time. I write poetry because that hones ones skills at manipulating words to create imagery.

I write Flash Fiction, I find it focuses the mind to explanation with the fewest words possible, challenges me to build quick twists and plots into a short paragraph or two.

I write Short Stories, sometimes these are expanded versions of my Flash Fictions or taken from the inspiration of a poem, either mine or someone else’s.

I also write Articles and Essays, which I suppose this ‘Rambling’ is. They also present their own ordeals and criteria. So everything and anything I write is practice. I am still amassing my techniques. I am continually building my own arsenal of experience and skill.

Watch out, because one day I shall unleash it all in that mad burst of artistic showmanship. But not just yet, because the whole point of a skill is knowing when to use it and when not to.

I am not yet quite ready to get up on that stage………. not quite, yet!

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Thank you for reading this Rambling.

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Have you read any of my short stories? You can find them at  

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