Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Writing Rhetoric.. (Strength to say "Hunk oo")

Confession time.  I'm a full time stay-at-home father. 

I know most of you know this already.. it's not a secret.  It's not that I'm some deadbeat Dad (not totally), I am edumakated.. and I'm licensed to practice law in the State of Idaho.. but unfortunately for my legal career I am not located IN the State of Idaho currently.

I'm about as far away as you can get from Idaho and still be in the contiguous 48 State. I live in Virginia for the moment while my wife is pursuing her PhD with aims of Professorship.  So, for the time being, I get to play Mr. Mom, which has been tremendously awesome.

One of the best things about being home is I get to spend my days with my youngest.  This is him------->
.. a chip off the old block, I was the youngest in my family, and now I understand why my siblings all complained that I got away with murder and got everything that I wanted.  It's true, there's just something about the youngest.

He's a great kid, super smart, with personality just oozing out of every pore.  He's the star of every dinner, every quiet night.. he steals the spotlight from every situation.  He's a a born ham.. like I said, chip off the ole' block.

Lately he's been starting to talk more and more.. he's smart as a whip, and will say "Hunk oo" when you give him something and 'Melcome" when you tell him "thanks."  However, I'm pretty sure he has no idea what those words actually mean.. he just knows that it is what everybody else says, so he mimics them.

My wife's education is actually in this very field, (Speech Language Pathology), and I've learned, (probably from osmosis cause I sure haven't tried to understand it much), that this is the proper speech technique. We learn by mimicking those who are around us who are successful and building up on that.  Seems pretty obvious, huh?

I thought of this last night when he thanked me for pouring him a drink of milk. I said, "You're welcome" and then the thought hit me as he pranced off to play with his brothers..
"He doesn't even know what he's doing when he says that, but he does it religiously because it's what was taught to him by those he trusts and admires, and we teach it because it worked for us . As long as he gets positive feedback from his attempts, he'll keep learning until he progresses to our level."
Then that got me to thinking.. 
"Wow, that's just like me with my writing. I quite often feel like I don't know what I'm doing.. but I follow the instructions and advice of those who have gone before me and who have had success.  My feedback has been generally positive so.. since it worked for them, it will probably work for me.. so I keep plugging along in the hopes of reaching their relative level."
I know I can't literally follow the exact procedure that authors like Brandon Mull, or James Dashner, or J.Scott Savage.  But I can use their example to model the steps that I do take, and I can use the advice that they so freely and supportively give in writing conferences or on their blogs. (And in fact I will soon, in an upcoming blog post)

Just like how my son learns slowly, through repetition and constant practice.. that's how we, as writers, learn as well.. or at least how I learn. I learn something new, either through lessons from those who know more than me, or feedback from those I trust, and then I learn to adopt it through repetition and practice.

Funny how that is, the things that come naturally to us as a child are the same things that teach us who to achieve our goals later in life.

I've implemented this into my own agenda, and I'm 'hopefully confident' I"ll see results.  And then.. when I land my agent and my first publishing deal in the near future I can write all those who helped me a nice note and tell them all, from the bottom of my heart, "Hunk oo!"

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