Three common myths beginning writers believe that keep their work from being extraordinary.
Myth #1: The perfect first draft
New writers sometimes believe that their first draft should be their final draft. And when that first draft doesn't seem very good, they feel despair and sometimes give up.
No one would pick up a clarinet for the first time and expect to sound good, but somehow that's the expectation people have of writing.
More experienced writers know that it's the job of the first draft to be insufficient. The first draft provides a road map to what you're thinking about, but in subsequent revisions (and there might be several) you get to deepen, shape, refine, expand and craft your initial idea. Each re-vision allows you to see-again what you are creating, and continue to discover its potential.
Myth #2: Writing "can't be taught."
While it is true that imagination cannot be taught, it can be encouraged and emboldened. And aside from imagination, there are specific elements of the craft of writing such as imagery, plotting, characterization and point of view that writers need to learn. Without an understanding of these elements, your initial idea for a story, poem or essay may be great, but won’t likely be developed to its full potential. You may recognize that you're not satisfied with it, but you won’t know why or what to do.
There are no shortage of wonderful books about the craft of writing, and here is a great list. http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/craft-of-writing
Another way to acquire knowledge of the craft of writing is to enroll in a creative writing workshop.
Myth #3: The Lone Genius
Sometimes it seems as if the great writers just locked themselves in a room (a garret, isn't it?) and produced these incredible works of genius all on their own. Beginning writers sometimes believe that if they have to ask for help, it's somehow cheating.
The truth is, creativity thrives in community. Nearly every writer or artist has a trusted network of readers, colleagues and/or editors who provide encouragement, brainstorming, strategic questions, feedback and perhaps even suggestions about how a work might be strengthened. Writing is communication, and it's useful to know how your communication is being received.
At Writers At Work, we offer the opportunity for you to engage in creative community through our ongoing and short-term workshops. Under excellent and experienced guidance by our instructors, participants receive support for the development of your ideas, risk-taking, learning the skills needed to fulfill your creative vision, and for cultivating your readers by publishing and giving public readings. Click here to see our current offerings.