Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Writing ~ Is It A Craft or An Art?


Are creative writers merely craftspeople—churning out words, elaborating stock plots?

Are journalists artists—recasting bare facts as fresh-woven stories?

Are too many people prone to putting other people into definition-boxes that confuse understanding?

The word history of “craft” includes the word “art”. It also speaks of “strength” and “calling”.

And, the word history of “art”? It includes the word “craft”, as well as practiced skill and “fit together” or “join”.

So, when the phrase, “arts and crafts” is used, are there two word-mirrors infinitely reflecting each other?

I’m not going to attempt an answer to those questions in this post but I will put forward a rather commonly-accepted differentiation of these two words when applied to writers:

The Art of writing seems to be generally considered as the result of mental/emotional decisions by the writer that control the shape of plots, the revelation of character, and the flow of narrative and description.

The Craft of writing seems to be generally considered as the work most writers perform when turning a draft (the raw, first-blood of their effort) into the polished, final manuscript—a process that many consider grueling and somehow dangerous to the “essence” of what their gut wants to communicate. Many a fine story has been murdered, published with no life, due to over-craftingmessing with the message.

There are also the preparatory actions—dreaming, planning, outlining—that often combine art and craft in intimate communion.

This preparation for the act is quite crucial, whether performed mostly in the mind or through loads of words arranged and rearranged.

I recently read a blog post by author, Rachel Aaron, that reveals a three-point plan to increase a writer’s output—quantity and quality.

How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day, proposes three considerations/strategies:

Knowledge—Know what you’re writing before you write it

Time—Find out when you’re most productive

Enthusiasm—Make sure you love every bit of everything you write

If you’re already a somewhat productive writer, you may have taken issue with one or more of those points.

If you’re just starting out, do consider what this woman says.

For all writers, no matter the experience or level, I strongly urge a reading of Rachel’s post since she gives ample evidence and example to potentially change your attitude toward your Art and the practice of your Craft………
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One response to “Writing ~ Is It A Craft or An Art?

  1. cmmarcum November 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Jiminy Cricket, I’d be happy with 2,000 words per day. Ten thousand per day would give me a heart attack. Words are just noise without an idea behind them. Do you know anyone who can help me come up with an original story idea or snazzy plot twist? I’d settle for one a week. That’d give me enough time to edit, before the next one arrived. :)

    Happy Turkey Day.

    Like this

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