Drum Lessons

September 2008

The Value Of Learning The Craft

Commit me. I must be certifiable. We just allowed our eight-year-old son to buy a used drum set from our neighbors. As if there wasn’t enough noise in my house to begin with between the big screen television with surround sound, two kids, three cats, and one hamster. Okay, so the hamsters don’t really say much, but they are very active at 3 am spinning in their wheels and not getting very far, but that’s another story. So now along with the rest of the noise, I have to listen to the bang, crash, boom of the drums coming from his bedroom and it’s driving me nuts. This coming from someone who truly believes silence is golden-especially while writing.

All noise aside, in my parental wisdom I decided to make our son pay for those drums out of his allowance to show him the value of hard work and a quick introduction to finances. So far it’s working. He’s shown enough interest to merit drum lessons. Of course yours truly is paying said lessons because we don’t want to scare him into bankruptcy and ruin his entire high school future. I think our dysfunctional family has already done that!

But in thinking of his lessons, which I believe are really paying off because I can hear a rhythm underneath all that noise, it brought back memories. As I see the stars in my son’s eyes as he plays his drums, it reminds me of me when I first attempted to write. Drumsticks versus keyboard? Drums versus computer? Different nouns, yet to my son and I, the words represent dreams.

They also represent work. As writers, we also have to hone and practice our skills, like musicians and soccer players and even little ballerinas in pink tights and tutus. Even seasoned professionals like teachers, lawyers, doctors, and even accountants attend educational workshops and classes.

So what do you as writers do to hone your craft? I take on-line courses, read magazine articles, study craft books, and read books within my genre, network and write. Here’s some of my favorite craft books that I refer to over and over again whether my book is in the planning stages or during the revisions. (listed in no particular order):

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight B Swain
  • The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book by Jean Kent & Candace Shelton
  • Believable Characters-Creating with Enneagrams by Laurie Schnebly
  • Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon
  • The Name Book by Pierre Le Rouzic
  • How To Read A Person Like A Book by Gerald Nierenberg & Henry Calero
  • Roget’s Super Thesaurus
  • Webster’s New World Dictionary

My son looks so handsome with those drumsticks in his hands. Just as I’d like to think that I look the serious writer type as I sit in front of the computer. Okay, so the fuzzy pink slippers and ratty old bathrobe have to go! But I digress…Will our son become a drummer in a rock and roll band? Or will his interest fade before he walks the last five dollar payment across the street? Only time will tell. Until then, every once in a while, this mom falls for lure of the drums. As I’m striking the cymbals and drums in no relevant order at all because I’ve discovered I’m musically challenged, it reminds me that dreams can come true if you practice and hone your skills hard enough.