I ascribe to the belief that writing is an art, a craft, and a business. The artistic goals of your writing may relate to the larger themes you see your work addressing, or the “conversations” your work engages in. The business of your writing career relates to publishing and otherwise earning money so you can support your work as an artist. (We’ll be talking a lot more about business side of writing in the coming months.)
Craft, as I would define it, falls somewhere between these two. Your craft are the skills and techniques that you have honed over your years as a writer. They enable you to (hopefully) earn a living, as well as translate your artistic vision into words on a page. Because Clovers is not a workshop group (unless you and your group members have made other personal choices in this regard), we won’t actually be working together to improve our craft through feedback. But, we can still have some rather important discussions about what we write, how we write, and how we work to improve what we write.
The internet abounds with advice for writers on developing a writing practice and improving craft. As a starting point, you and your group might want to frame your discussions around a list of suggestions for keeping yourself writing, published on LitReactor. Have you tried any of these strategies? What has worked for you and what hasn’t as you’ve developed your writing practice? Where would you like to improve?
Beyond the rhythms of your writing life, you and your Clover may also want to discuss the steps you’ve taken to hone your craft. Have you taken classes, or are you curious about them? Attended conferences that have been helpful (or that you wish you’d avoided)? Or have you developed your own work through reading or other independent study? Related to the question of developing craft, Poets & Writers contains some useful resources for anyone interested in learning more about conferences, colonies, and workshops.
Finally as you continue to get to know the members of your Clover, you may want to use your discussion this month to talk more about what you like to write, as it relates to your goals for developing your craft. Are you stuck in a rut, or embracing a new project? What kind of writing are you most interested in pursuing, and how has your writing changed over the years?
Feel free to comment here if your discussions with your Clover lead you to any insights you’d like to share!