I have heard it said that what we appreciate in others, we are capable of doing ourselves. I sure hope so because I would love to come even close to writing at the level of J.K. Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy. While we, referring to my children and myself, loved the plot driven Harry Potter series, this book is so much better! In a radio interview, I recently heard her saying that the difference between the wizard series and this novel is that she had five years to complete this book--she was not driven by a desire to get out of her economic circumstances.
The first part of the book goes straight off into an unexpected death of Barry Fairbrother, a forty-four year old man living a good life with his wife and four teenagers. Each subsequent plot shows the life, personality, and reaction to someone who was connected to the man. I purposely used the word 'shows' above as there is nowhere in these chapters that we are told what the character is like; we learn as we go along. I love that! Further, each character personality is different and their reaction to the death is different. As we go along, being carried from character to character, we learn what Barry was like--obviously we do not learn from the dead man himself.
Generally, I want to know right away what the problem of the story is. However, because the writing is captivating, I don't mind waiting to find out.
As this blog is not written to be a critique of a novel, let's go back to the first sentence: what we appreciate in others, we are capable of doing ourselves. Woo hoo! Now that is exciting news. That means that someday, with practice, learning, blood sweat and tears, I can write at the level that I am appreciating in J.K. Rowling. Yes, I love good news like that.
I assume that being as good in the future as the marvelous writers of today, comes gradually and in bursts. Attending a writer's conference, taking a class, partaking in a retreat--those will give more rapid writing headway. Writing daily, going to writing critique groups, appreciating what I read from a writer's viewpoint--those will bring about improvement at a steady pace. Fast and slow, both are necessary for my improvement.
Who do you admire? What can you do to work toward what they are now capable of doing? What are you doing to improve your life's passion?
Next time you see someone doing something that you think is awesome, remember that the only reason you are able to recognize that what they are doing is awesome, is because you hold this ability within you. You hold within the greatness that you can appreciate in others.