Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sprezzatura

It's the first Wednesday of the month, time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh, for providing a place for writers to find support, as we workout our insecurities.
Illustration by Lewis Mirrett
 Recently I was listening to a audio book, as I often do to make running errands a bit less tedious, and I heard the word; Sprezzatura (\sprāt-tsä-ˈtü-rä\). It's an ancient Italian word for the ability to do your craft without a lot of visible effort. The talent of combining confidence and grace, while keeping a certain insouciance. The effortful pursuit of the appearance of effortlessness. The appearance of effortlessness; like not grunting when you hit a tennis ball, or grimacing while you're running.

When I think of books I fell in love with, and wanted to read again and again, I realize it is because they ooze Sprezzatura. Evey word on the page is exactly where it belongs. Each character fits perfectly with the other characters. I never read a sentence or paragraph and ask, "Why is that there?" Page after page I am lost deep in the author's world. Immersed in the character's lives, thoughts, and experiences. I do not want the story to end; I want to remain a part of their world. It is at that moment my censor speaks up loud and clear, "You'll never do that."

When I look over at my mound of revisions, I am inclined to agree with him. He is after all, big, green, and 100% correct; at the moment. As I brood over whose voice to believe, mine or the censors, I remind myself of a quote from award winning children's author Lisa Yee, "I am not a better writer now, than I was before. I am just a more confident one." What great insight for all artrists. Although we do grow and develop our craft, over time what we actually build is confidence.

I am confident that each blog post, ink-filled page,  and scribbled journal notes moves me along the path to becoming a more confident writer. My writing may not reflect Sprezzatura, yet. But I am certain that as long as I don't let my censor halt my effortful pursuit, I will achieve the appearance of effortlessness and one day create worlds for others to get lost in, instead of me just feeling lost.

Muse For Today: How do you manage to create with Sprezzatura?

21 comments:

KarenG said...

Ah wouldn't it be nice to have this Sprezzatura? Real talent comes off as effortless when it is anything but.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Very true, "...anything but." Another definition was, well-practiced naturalness. I guess if I want Sprezzatura in my writing, I have to practice, like everything else :/

L. G. Keltner said...

I wish I had some of this Sprezzatura too. As it is, I have piles of papers with many versions of each scene I eventually crank out. I've heard people say "Oh, you're a writer? Well that's easy. Anyone can do that!"

Writing a book is never as easy as it may look. I only hope my end results look like they were effortless.

Keep working at it. We're all in this together.

Karen Walker said...

Me, too. What a lovely post, Jenn, and so wise.
Karen

Heather Murphy said...

WOW, that's a great word to go! It gives us all something to strive for

Allison said...

Cool word! I think the key is not a lot of "visible effort." It looks effortless, but we know the vast amount of work that was put into that great writing and can admire it even more.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love that word. I'll be thinking of it when I do my editing.

T said...

What a great post... thank you for the inspiration. And, yes, you are so right... with time, comes confidence. I'll have to keep that in mind as I move forward. Thanks for sharing your word(s) of wisdom!

Medeia Sharif said...

I've become more confident in my writing. Writing isn't effortless, I put in the same amount or even more hard work and manuscripts aren't perfect since I crave and use feedback, but there's a greater feeling that I'm doing things right.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I hope my end results look effortless too. Yes, we are all in this together!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Thank you Karen :D

Scribbles From Jenn said...

It is a great word. Wonderful for dinner parties when you tell them you are a writer, then use a great word like, Sprezzatura.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Yes, only a writer understands ALL the efforts that go into it. If everyone understood it before they took the leap, bookstores would be bare.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Susan, I'm glad to give you something to spur on your editing, which for me, is the most tedious part.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

You are welcome. Thanks for calling me wise.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

My manuscripts never seem to attain perfection. But, at least I'm building confidence.

~Jennifer~ said...

Hi there! First of all, I wanted to thank you for reading my blog post and commenting. Secondly, I absolutely adore the name of your blog! Love it!

I've thought about this concept before but had difficulty trying to think of a word that encompasses that. I'm lucky to have come across your post! I was thinking the other day about how there are actors who make their craft look effortless, for example, Johnny Depp. Then, I thought about the people who write the movies that he stars in and how they can make writing a script seem effortless. I tend to mistakenly believe that they aren't putting effort into what they do--that it just flows right out of them somehow. But I couldn't be more wrong. They work a lot harder than I ever realized, and this goes for any writer, not just for those who write scripts.

With my own writing, I am my own roadblock. I am the one and only reason I haven't gotten my writing out there, and I have finally realized why--I'm scared to death of feeling vulnerable once it's out there. It took me so long to gain the courage to even start up a blog. My husband suggested this to me over a year ago, and I just began mine in January this year. It's taken me a long time to realize I don't have the confidence I thought I had, but now that I know it, I can do something about it.

Thank you for your post! You put the ideas out there so eloquently.

Joy said...

Love this post, especially the line about being more confident. That is so true!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Thanks joy. Everyday, I look forward to building more confidence.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thank you for your wonderful comments! Welcome to the blogging world. Everyone is so nice here, it's the perfect place to get your (writing) feet wet.

Arlee Bird said...

I love this term--never heard of it before. I don't know if I can say I have it or not, but I guess the best way to acquire sprezzatura is to just keep on writing.


Lee
A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

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