Write-Up Wednesday: Accepting the Apprentice’s Call

With NANOWRIMO around the corner, I wanted to give my opinion about why I’ve chosen not to participate in it this year. I haven’t figured out exactly how to voice that opinion yet but I will get back to you next week. I was, however, struck with another idea that I’m much more attracted to. Below is an essay/rant that I’m calling “Accepting the Apprentice’s Call”.

It’s time for me to face some facts. I am still a beginner. I’ve only been writing consistently for about a year now. I’ve improved within that time, which is expected. This fact is evident from my first work to my most recent work. There’s a similar voice between the two works, sure, but things have improved a bit. But my journey thus far has been a haphazard collection of lessons with no real inter-connectivity. I just learned what needed to write longer and better works. That isn’t to say that there isn’t some merit to the effort I’ve put in, but my path towards masterful writing has not been effective.

If you’ve been following my Write-Up Wednesday series, you’ve learned that I’ve been reading (I actually just finished) a book called “The Art of Slow Writing“. I can’t vouch for this book enough, especially for beginners like me. But there is a section in particular I’d like to focus on: Apprenticeship. DeSalvo points out “[Virginia] Woolf improved her prose by setting herself reading programs .” But,  “She didn’t just read; she read with pen in hand to improve her work. She read to learn how to write scenes, describe landscape, construct image patterns, depict the passage of time. She kept notebooks in which she evaluated what she read and copied passages that helped her learn her craft.” Virginia Woolf was deliberate in her pursuit of becoming a better writer. Though she mightn’t have had a mentor, she found mentorship among the works she read.

I intend to do the same. Although I read frequently, I didn’t do it deliberately to learn how to write. Reading a work slowly with a pen and notebook next to me, taking notes and copying down well-written passages, these things are crucial in my next stage of growth. I plan on reading/re-reading the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, I’ll continue my reading of classics and I’ll even venture beyond into genre fiction. There is a wealth of information for me to learn from but I’ve got to do this slowly noting anything that strikes me. This, actually, is also what my fiction analysis posts on Fridays are for. From these analyses I get a deeper look into why a passage that stuck a chord in me did so. Eventually with enough practice I’ll learn how to do the same thing.

Modern apprenticeships last between three to six years wherein, if completed in a competent manner, they become a journeyman. Journeymen possess  are the competencies that someone employed in their respective field is expected to have. I am accepting this call. I am a beginner, an amateur and I may never reach the ranks of a competent writer (just as apprentices mightn’t be able to in other fields.) But if everything goes as planned, I suspect my writing apprenticeship will last between 4-7 years. At the end of this time, I will have refined my craft and expanded my talents. There’s no telling if a major work or master craft will come out of this apprenticeship but I will be working harder than before. My stories will be told with a more delicate eye for attention and I’ll become less heavy-handed with themes. I might not ever become a successful writer but I will for damn sure put in successful writer amounts of effort.

29 thoughts on “Write-Up Wednesday: Accepting the Apprentice’s Call”

  1. Wow, I’ve never thought of it like that before. I’ve always thought that reading would be enough but you’re right, writers need to actively be pursuing and perfecting their craft. Thanks for the insight and I know you’ll do great! Good luck ^_^

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have read two of your short fiction. Your plan is admirable. I hope you don’t plan to not seek publication for the next 4-7 years. Both of those stories may have a market out there somewhere with a little editing. Maybe you could seek out a proofreader/editor for evaluation of your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right that I need work with editing. That’s a part of the plan to. I don’t plan on pursuing any major publication in this period of time but I will continue to put out self published content


  3. I didn’t know Virginia Woolf had to plan her work, oh my…I really like this idea of passage analysis to improve writing! Like you, I’ve read certain passages where my jaw just simply drops, but I’ve never gone further than storing it in my mind (and you know how time corrupts memory, ha.) If you don’t mind me dropping an author… 😂 Iris Murdoch’s books are amazing. Written in a clear manner, with something much more profound lurking under the surface. It’s difficult to discern exactly what makes her writing tick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A phrase I have above my work desk is “be always busy creating. And while other people are evaluating your current work get busy with the next creation.” Sounds like you’ve determined to keep creatively busy!! Good for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It helps me to have a bunch of quotes related to the creative life, quotes that get my “creative juices” flowing – for those moments when I’m a tad stumped I can sit back with my cup of coffee and read the wall above my desk and get a jolt of “you can do it”. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, some powerful intentions in just short post. I’m looking forward to watching you continue to progress. I firmly believe that writing is something we both do and are. You are a writer, and as you continue to use your craft, you will get stronger. But, remember why you write. Is it to publish? If so, there are pathways to do that. And they are easy enough to find. But, if you are writing to express yourself, to share your voice with the world, to bring your art form to life, then you are already doing it.
    Be true to yourself – at the end of the page that is all that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m on my own path to to becoming a better writer so I can certainly relate to your experiences. You already appear to be a very good at this. At the pace you’re going I’m sure you’ll achieve your writing goals. Just remain consistent. Write even when every fiber of your being doesn’t feel like it. This article has given me a fresh perspective on how to better train myself as a writer. I’m now going to apply your apprenticeship model when reading the writing books in my personal collection. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

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