November 24, 2010
I first met Dick Gabriel when he was talking about his idea for an MFA program for software developers.
One of the examples he used came from Art school. In this example the students had to stop somewhere on their way to class and sketch something. The next day they had to sketch it again. Over the next days, weeks, and months they continued to sketch the same scene searching for different aspects. The scene might change over the seasons but more importantly, what the artist saw each day would change.
Gabriel has an MFA in poetry as well as PhD in CS so he is the right guy to think about the differences in how experts in these two worlds are trained.
So you want to be a writer. You need to do more than just write. You need to study the masters in your genre. You need to read what they’ve written both like a reader and like a writer. You need to be able to deconstruct the work to understand what makes it work so well and you need to read for pleasure and understanding.
You need to write lots of prose that you will never try to publish. You need to write something today and find a way to express the same thing better tomorrow. You need to come up with a great example and then stretch tomorrow to find a better one.
Pour your heart into connecting with your readers and then do it again…
… and again.