The free dictionary online defines the Quadrivium as the higher division for the seven liberal arts. They were taught back in the 6th Century as a complete education. They were originally Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music and all related to Mathematics. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic are the Trivium which I will discuss on day T and were related to Language.
I am taking the idea of four essential elements in whole to describe the nobler qualities a writer needs to possess. I state plainly that I am no professional and speak only in philosophical terms and would welcome challenge on the qualities themselves or the explanations I give in the comments.
Without the creative spark of an idea you have nothing. Everything begins from a seed; with care and nurture, it germinates into a seedling; which then matures. Ideas come from all around you from the external world, from knowledge and experience, but are nothing without that spark within, hence so many depictions of a lightbulb associated with it.
Here are some very wonderful definitions of the word:
Cambridge English Dictionary: “the willingness to give a lot fo time and energy to something because it is important.”
Merriam-Webster: ” a feeling of very strong support or loyalty to someone or something.”
The Free Dictionary: “Selfless devotion: served…with dedication and integrity.”
In essence, dedication is the act of being committed to a task or a purpose and writers need that in infinite amounts. This is a resource that cannot be overused and will be constantly tested.
A writer needs to be dedicated to the craft of storytelling, to the improvement of their writing, and to the integrity of their characters. A writer will need to draw upon their dedication to their writing every time they face a rejection or negative criticism.
This includes time management, filing and systems that keep all the things you need at hand so you can find them easily and efficiently. Organisation is a state of being that encompasses all this and the ideal is that you become more efficient and productive because of it.
Organisation looks different for everyone though we can all learn from one another. I am currently not as organised as I’d like to be, my desk is a pile of papers and books and computer is currently residing on the coffee table. Not very idea. My bookshelves are overflowing with books I haven’t read yet and all the notes I take after research, or random notebooks with important notes in are piled up without a system to find things easily.
It’s probably something we like to think we’re good at, or have a system that perhaps might not appear very organised to others. We say things like ‘it’s an organised chaos’. Sound familiar? I’m loathe to use superlatives but I do believe that the majority of people at least are more productive when they are organised.
Many would have us believe that writers are divided into planners and pantsers. Those who know my philosophical views well will know that I love a paradox, and this is no exception. I believe that writers need to be both. Planning can save a lot of time and make a writer more productive and efficient, however most of the best ideas, themes and twists happen when you let your imagination take the wheel.
These four skills are the cornerstones of professional writing and complete my Quadrivium. What are your Quadrivium of skills?