Yannick Fradin is part of the School of Work. For him, learning to write, to learn to write better, to train oneself, to improve oneself are part of the author’s duties. If this is a must, he considers that self-training, training and coaching are important assets to allow an author to achieve its true status. His advices.
For almost seven years that I write, I was able to interact with many actors of the book: authors, publishers, distributors, booksellers, event organizers, printers, etc.
Edited and self-published, in long formats (novels) as in short formats (news, stories) and intermediaries (novellas) I was able to discuss with people evolving in the world of traditional publishing (on behalf of publisher), self-publishing, or in both (the famous hybrids).
Author self-published: find your way in the jungle
I also spoke with many people in pain, often hastily falling into authored publishing formats posing as publishers on behalf of the publisher. Self-publishing can be a good choice when it’s wanted and thought out, but it’s rarely the case when it’s done and you expect something else.
Take the time to thoroughly educate yourself before signing a contract or getting involved, it is important, it is essential, in writing as for buying a house, a car, etc.
What I have seen over the course of these many discussions is that when we talk about writing, two opposing points of view often stand out: talent and work.
Talent: Writing is a gift. We own it or do not have it. Clearly, it can not be learned.
Work: Writing, that can be learned. It’s a matter of method and work.
Writing is a job, and like any job, it can be learned and worked on.
Of course, some people will be more talented than others, more comfortable or more efficient than others, will remember and assimilate some mechanisms faster or easier than others, but it does not prevent that write, it can be learned, and it works.
This is learned, that is to say that there are methods, and that to assimilate these, one can form oneself. We must train. To be satisfied with the talent that one could have, and that some already have in them, because we are indeed unequal on this point, without feeding it, what a waste! Do not try or give up on the pretext that we would not have talent, or that we were made to believe, what a pity!
To write is to address an audience. To speak to an audience is to use codes.
These codes are used to tell something to a target audience. Those who argue that writing is nothing but a history of talent, have in my opinion a very romantic vision of the profession and blinkers that are likely to prevent them from evolving, unless it is pure malice against them. those who want to improve.
I met a lot of kind authors, but also a lot of authors who were less so … As in any profession, there are nice and positive people, and others less, which can sometimes be very toxic, or just “beasts” or jealous. After all, we are human, and we have all its qualities and flaws. The whole thing is to surround yourself with the right people.
Everyone is able to write. But to tell a story and spread it to a wider audience, it can not be improvised. It can be learned. And when we learn, it works. As with any job, you first learn the theory, then the practice, often the two in parallel, and the more you practice and the more you specialize, the more you acquire knowledge, the more you gain experience, the more effective you become , relevant, professional.
This is what distinguishes a beginner from a professional. Training and experience The method and the work.
The purpose of this post is only to encourage you to train again and again. Be curious. Identify your weaknesses Look for training, even if they are remote or face-to-face. For example, consider narrative writing, especially if you are writing fiction. Take an interest in the writing mechanisms, the specificities of the genre (s) in which you write, marketing, blogging, etc.
In the world of writing, one can train in many useful things, according to one’s expectations and choices. A must, however, will be the narrative writing, what is commonly called screenwriting in the world of cinema.
Before anything else: look for a method!
Difficulty: there are few in the French landscape. However, we begin to find, but for this, we must look, often at length, observe carefully, and when we think we have found the rare pearl, we must make the effort to launch. Financial effort first, because a training worthy of the name is not free. Personal effort afterwards: diligence, investment, practice, transferability.
How to recognize a “good” training?
- a clearly presented and detailed program
- concrete objectives
- practical exercises
- a trainer at your service, who intervenes, accompanies you, advises you, corrects you (it can be by mail and / or telephone, it does not matter whether it is in face-to-face or not, but it is important that exchanges take place, in direct and / or deferred)
- a progressive method
- a personalized course that will adapt to you, to transfer the knowledge and skills you will acquire to your own practice
- a place of exchange with other learners, such as a forum. In any case a “protected” and private place where the learners meet and can exchange between them, as well as with the trainer
In parallel with such formations, one can of course self-train. There are many books, many distance-based platform courses that allow you to learn and improve your practice. You can also join writing workshops, literary groups, thematic cafes, associations of literary people, etc.
These courses and readings are useful and interesting, you must do, but they will never make you as much as a career with a knowledgeable professional who can share his experience and correct you, motivate you, guide you.
How to recognize a good trainer?
This is surely the most delicate part. If there are few formations worthy of the name in the French landscape, we see more and more flowers in recent years, and a good part is proposed by people who improvise trainers, often by passion or want to share , and sometimes for the sole purpose of selling a product.
While experienced writers can be good trainers, my experience allows me to suggest that people from the film world and especially scriptwriting branches are often good trainers.
To tell a story, it follows specific patterns, it is part of a structure, a method, and that is how we can touch the interest of the public, the interest of the readers, and make a work simply Friendly and pleasant to read a bestseller.
Talent is certainly part of it, but talent is more of a matter of style. And style, that can not be learned. It works, it is acquired and refined with experience. There is no way to have talent, there is only practice, passion and perseverance. The structure on the other hand, that can be learned AND practiced.
I could tell you about different formations that I followed, readings that I could do, but I think that everyone must make his own discoveries, his own experiences, and find the boot to his feet.
We all have different backgrounds, different expectations, different sensibilities. What suits one will not suit the other and vice versa. On the other hand, everyone is able to learn and improve by training.
Training is essential in all trades. Those who do not form stagnate or even regress. Those who train themselves adapt, improve, take the lead, advance, become better professionals, know how to face more situations, more effectively and more serenely. They become more competent and can in turn share their knowledge with those who do not have it.
For writing, it’s the same. Give yourself the chance to train, work with resolution, regularity and relentlessness, that’s what will make you a “good” professional.
Do you have difficulty? Identify it and find a way to overcome it. You will find someone who can help you.
Current fashion is coaching.On puts a little everything and anything under this label. However, the idea is the same. A coach is like a trainer. It is someone who will accompany you, make you reach and exceed your limits, make you aware of your weaknesses, help you exploit them. A coach will give you a method! Then, what will allow you to continue to evolve? Work ! The practice !
And for you, is writing a matter of talent or work?