I recently went and heard Donald Maass talk about putting the fire into your fiction–which coincidently will be the name of his next writing book. Years ago, I attended one of his all day workshops and was completely taken aback at his theories and insights on writing. He really fired me back up then and so when I heard he was coming to Bainbridge Island, which is just a ferry hop across Puget Sound, I knew I needed to sign up. I wasn’t disappointed.
He took those of us lucky enough to attend through a series of hands on exercises on how to make scenes come more alive in our writing, putting the fire in them, so to say. For me, it was like finding my writing mojo again. The challenge that keeps writing fresh and fun and interesting. But what I thought was funny was the reaction of other writers there–like what are you doing here?! As if having published a pile of books makes me an expert. Believe me, I am no expert–I just love learning about my craft. I’m curious that way. I always love to hear about other writers’ processes and what they do with their ideas and if one guru or another is worth a Saturday and a trip across the Sound.
I do the same with my knitting. Constantly on the search for new methods, new cast ons, new challenges. I learned the basics when I was about 8–but any craft is a life time process, and the lessons that served me at 8 were great foundations, but I love learning something new. Sometimes it fits with the skill set, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s the learning that keeps it interesting. I think that’s why so many people have unfinished books or UFOs as we call them in the knitting world–you’re stuck with the same skills without upping the challenge.
What have you done recently to “up” the challenges in your life? To explore new skills or ideas?