In April, Nickolas Butler gave a standing-room-only Craft Talk at the Local Store. His message: the impact of patience and perspective on our writing. In addition, Butler, the award-winning author of Shotgun Lovesongs and Beneath the Bonfire: stories, discussed his latest project一 a novel that draws on a heart wrenching situation he experienced 17 years ago when he was a teenager.
Butler said that while he could have written about the subject as a teenager, it would have been raw and relatively narrow-minded. Now, 17 years after the fact, he’s had enough experiences to gain multiple perspectives on the situation. He told us that as writers it’s up to us to see situations from different angles and perspectives in order to write a great piece. This could mean spending time researching or talking to other people about a topic.
More often than not, perspective comes with time, and time requires patience.
In an era when instant gratification is king (see: Facebook likes or a YouTube video that’s gone “viral”), there’s also a desire to have work published instantly. This makes patience a virtue we want to ignore. The payoff for having patience (and perspective!) with your work, however, will be even more rewarding than a quick submission.
What should you do in the meantime while you’re being patient and gaining perspective?
Read. Butler told us that you can’t be a good, solid writer without reading a lot. Not only will you have a better sense of writing and storytelling, but reading different genres like fiction, poetry, essays, and more will help give you the perspective you’re trying to gain. Butler also stressed the importance of reading in order to increase creativity, as well as looking for the creativity in everyday things and conversations.
We’re grateful that Butler gave us such an honest and inspiring talk, and we’re already looking forward to our next season of Craft Talks starting up in fall of 2016. Make sure to check back to our website so you don’t miss any upcoming Chippewa Valley Writers Guild events! Have an inspired and inspiring summer!