Enjoy what you do – It’s certainly true for writing


When I was in school I hated to write.  Likely the biggest reason was that I hated what I had to write about.  Being forced to do something tends to lower the quality of ones output.  I don’t consider myself a great wordsmith by any means, but I’ve found a niche that energizes me and utilizes my talents and interests.

When you like what you do you do it better.  When you write about what you know you know it’s more believable.  I realize it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, but sometimes we forget how little details can sometimes ruin an otherwise acceptable manuscript.

Take geography for example.  It peeves me when an author tells a story which has all the ingredients necessary to peak my interest, but he or she blows it by getting the geography wrong.  In other words, when writing about real places, get it right.  If an author is not willing to research streets, rivers, creeks, local botany and wildlife, etc., then perhaps it would be better to make the setting a fictitious one.  That eliminates people like me being critical.  It might not be fair, but a few inaccuracies early in a book closes the cover permanently for me, and I think others as well.

Writing from experience is also easier.  The words flow onto the page with less effort.  I teach high school (but not English) and constantly listen to students complain about how hard it is to write an essay or other assignment.  They struggle with word counts and eventually become content to hit the word or page requirement while not worrying about the content very much.  I know why teachers insist on minimum numbers of pages or words, but it is still frustrating.  Two pages of well written concise manuscript beats six pages of redundant crap any day.  However, if the teacher had no guidelines, he or she would have received one or two pages of crap instead of six.

Students succeed at what is important to them.  Few ever fail driver’s education, because they want their license.  Even marginal students struggling in all their classes don’t screw this one up.  We need to find a way kids can cultivate their excellence.  They can do that by gaining confidence.  Confidence gives us the desire to get even better.  The better we become the more fun it is.  We become better writers when we are enjoying ourselves.  We enjoy it more when we are confident we know what we are talking about.  It keeps building after that, but we have to taste a little success first.  For a teacher that can be the greatest challenge.

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About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com) and frequently publish articles in several other newspapers in northeastern North Carolina. I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.
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