21 July 2012

The Craft or the Art

Editor's note: This isn't really advice this time around. I had a rambling thought regarding writing and wanted to place it out there for others to comment. If you're seeking advice, feel free to skip this post. Thanks!

Frequently, it is heard in discussion circles about the “Art and Craft of Writing.” I sat and thought about that concept and I realized something. I don’t agree with the statement. There is the “Craft” of writing and then there is the “Art” of writing. They can be separated into distinct beasts, rather than being one entity.

Here is where my thoughts come from regarding this.

The craft of writing is dealing with the actual rules. You’re crafting sentences based on the structures the rules require. Nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, they all factor into the craft. Craft is something that is learned.

The art of writing is taking what we know of the craft and melding it into a pleasing composition everyone can enjoy. The turn of phrase or the distinct point of view the writer choses all lead to art. While craft is something learned, Art is an innate sense. Some people can write art. Others just write.

One important thing to note about how I lay that out, one can exist without the other, but the reverse isn’t true. You can have craft without art, but cannot have art without the craft.

Everyone wants to believe that their writing is Art™. When first attempting to put pen to paper or words on the screen, it will be closer to stream of consciousness writing. This isn’t bad, as you’re still developing your craft. Writers like Anne McCaffery, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t have crystal prose during their first works. It took them years to develop into the artists we read now.

I guess I’m saying all that to say this: Don’t feel rushed because you want to write. I’m nearing the twenty year mark, and have only had one piece published. Time continues to work me through the awkward stage.

However, let me throw this out to the readers: What’s your thoughts on the “Art and Craft of Writing?”

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