Do you want to be good at what you do or do you want to do whatever you want?

I saw that line in a comment over on my husband’s blog.  Our blogging buddy Marta made it.  Marta is also a writer seeking publication, seeking to improve her craft, her art.  She’s also a teacher.  I copied it because it speaks to something that has really bothered my husband and me for some time now. 

There are so many people out there who think they can write, that all they have to do to write is pick up a pen or sit at a computer.  As though all anyone needs to paint the Sistine Chapel is a couple of cans of spray paint.  Writing is an art form.  There are a few right ways, and tons of wrong ones.  It’s about so much more than slapping words onto a page.  It’s about creating characters, and dialogue, and places – all with the words you choose.  You simply HAVE to know what you’re doing, just as a sculptor needs to know and understand the principles of sculpting before he can put chisel to stone. 

It’s really not something for the feint of heart. 

What’s the best writing advice you’ve received so far?