Michael's Musings

Writer Wednesday: Rules for Writers #4

(Writer Wednesday is a weekly feature I’ll be doing where I discuss my current projects, writing hurdles, and my process in general.)

So here we are, my final Rule for Writers. (Click the following links to read about Rule #1, Rule #2, and Rule #3.) The final rule, as I always tell students, is the hardest one to follow; it’s also the most important. The rule is so important that when I share it, I have to say it three times. So without further ado…

My very first school visit

Rule #4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice sharpens skills, practice breaks down obstacles. It’s what takes craft and turns it into instinct. And it’s a process that never ends.

To put it another way: I’ve been writing every single day since I was six years old. It might have been a lot, it might have been a little, but there has always been something, each and every day. At this writing, I’ll be turning 30 in a few months. This means that I’ve been practicing writing in one way or another for somewhere in the neighborhood of 8500 consecutive days. And I’m still finding ways to improve.

As a storyteller, I’d never have been able to write this:

This is the cover for my new novel, Latasha and the Kidd on Keys!

…without the knowledge and skill I gained by writing these:

Postcards from Pismo by Michael Scotto Latasha and the Little Red Tornado

And my next book will bring to bear all the lessons I learned from each one that came previously. Because that is what practice (practice, practice) is all about. It’s commonly said that practice makes perfect — to which I reply, “Bunk.” There’s no perfection, just a stream of improvement that flows along for exactly as long as you wish it to. I find that terribly exciting.

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