What do I mean by the title of this post? Well, I have been reading some physical books and some ebooks, and it got me thinking.
You see, in addition to being a writer, I am also a photographer, although I choose to keep this as more of a hobby. I have found since digital photography became the norm, that ANYONE can take a photograph and make it a good photograph, either by deleting and re-shooting, or by using one of the many editing programs that can completely transform a photograph. I find this a bit frustrating because people who know nothing about photography or what makes up a good photograph are taking pictures and being told they’re wonderful. The appreciation for the person with the true photographer’s eye, photography knowledge and experience simply doesn’t truly exist anymore.
However, I still believe that a true photographer can take a great picture the first time and not need to do much, if any, editing to deliver a wonderful product. A true photographer doesn’t just have a photographer’s eye, photography knowledge and experience, but they also have patience — the patience to sit and wait for the shot, and they know when to hit the shutter release button when they see what they have been waiting for.
All that said, let’s now look at writing in a similar manner. You see, as I have been reading, I can tell you that, yes, I have noted one or two typographical errors in some physical books. However, I see LOTS of typographical and grammatical errors in MANY ebooks, as well as poorer quality writing. This has given me over to much thought about the quality of writing. I have read that there are more writers in this computer technology age than ever before. My question is, but are they worth reading?
You see, like the thought that ANYONE can take a good photograph with today’s technology, I think it is comparable to ANYONE who THINKS he/she can write, can produce a book. Self-publishing has become a more utilized venue, and ebooks can be created by anyone with some basic computer knowledge.
I believe to be a quality writer, you must be an avid reader who reads good quality stories that are the type of stories that you want to write. I also believe you must study the craft of writing, which also has more options than in the past. Now you don’t have to go to college or take a correspondence course, you can take a course on the computer in your own home, and you can join a writers’ group. I believe it is important to allow other writers to read your work and offer advice, and I believe it is important to seriously consider the reader(s)’ comments and advice. We should not be overly sensitive about our writing to a point that we cannot consider improvement.
I believe that reading the classics also helps to improve your writing skills. After all, would theses stories be classics, being read a hundred or more years after being written, if they weren’t good quality?
Finally, I would like to suggest that if you want to be a good quality writer, don’t rush into self-publishing or creating an ebook. Be sure to re-read and revise/edit your story more than once before you consider it finished. When you feel that your story is finished, put it away for three to six months, and don’t look at it at all during that time. During that time, continue to write other things. Then, after three to six months, take that story out again, and you will see it with fresh eyes. You may find some more need for editing or even some changes that would make the story even better. (This tip of letting your story sit for months and then reading it with fresh eyes, was something I read in Short Story: From First Draft to Final Product by Michael Milton), and I think it’s a very good tip.
Think about it, do you want to produce good quality writing or do you just want to publish your writing? Having the patience to put in the time for revisions and waiting and reading again later could mean the difference between a dozen or even a couple of hundred people reading your book today, or tens of thousands of people reading your classic story a hundred years from now.