Our guest today is Karin Gillespie, author of the national bestselling Bottom Dollar Girls series, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year, Co-author for Jill Connor Browne’s novel Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big Ass Novel. Her latest novel Love Literary Style was inspired by a New York Times article called “Masters in Chick Lit” that went viral and was shared by literary luminaries like Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Rice. She’s written for the Washington Post and Writer Magazine and is book columnist and humor columnist for Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Magazine respectively. She received a Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2016.
I teach creative writing on the college level, and I always tell students that they will know they’ve finally reached a level of mastery when they start trusting their own instincts instead of constantly looking for outside advice. This led me to write an article about master writers approach their craft from an inside-out perspective.
Four Traits of a Master Writer and How You Can Develop Them
There’s an old saying that if you see the Buddha on the road, you should kill him. I’ll modify that for writers: If you see Strunk and White on the road, mow them over. What does that mean? Writing teachers are important, but there comes a time in every writer’s life when they must fade into the background. In other words, instead of seeking answers and insight from outsiders, writers need to look inward. This signifies the change from apprentice to master.
I’ve been a published novelist for over twelve years now, and it’s only recently that I’ve begun to feel remotely in control of my craft. While I don’t claim to be a master, I’ve identified a few traits I’ve observed in seasoned writers. All of these traits involve looking within for answers.
Masters Go With the Flow
Most writers have experienced the glorious feeling of having words effortlessly flow from their mind onto the page. Master writers regularly experience this state, which is sometimes called wu-wei and is literally translated as “not-trying.” Edward Slingerland, the author of Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity, describes it as ,“the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art… [Read more…]