I was reading my online email newsletter from Writers Digest this morning and wondered something. Do you think any writer has ever started out without reading Writers Digest Magazine or a book published by them or read something online published under their auspices?
I know when I first got the insane idea of writing and discovered their magazine that I was overjoyed. I devoured every word of the periodicals and became a subscriber for years.
From the magazine I leapfrogged to their book club. I have about four shelves of a bookcase filled with books published by them. Some I've read again and again. I'm still a member of their book club and occasionally order something.
So I started thinking about why I stopped subscribing to their magazine. I guess it's because you reach a point in your career when you've published and you realize that you really have learned the basics. I don't think it's a mindset that you know everything. Instead, it's a thought process that you SHOULD know enough to keep writing if you've managed to sell a book.
I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that you gain a certain confidence in your ability to tell a story so you want to move from the basics to more complicated skills which need mastering.
So why do I keep buying books about the craft of writing? Because I realize that no writer ever knows everything. And, why, do I read some of the same books over and over again? Because it's akin to a comfort read.
Starting a new book is like an amnesiac exploring her own home. Yes, it's familiar territory, but it's strange at the same time. So reaching for a familiar book which helped point the way in the past, points out that you do know how to tell a story.
Even though you may know how to write, each book is a new story. (Or should be.) Sometimes, just reading an article or a book on writing helps you recognize that you really do know what the book's author is talking about. You've done it.
If you did it once, you can do it again.