So, You Want to be a Writer?
2012 is here and you’re fresh and eager with the whole blank year laid out before you. This is it. This is the year you make it. You’re going to start writing – again or for the first time. Good for you! Seriously. I wish you luck and many well-crafted words.
To help you on your way, some things you are going to need (besides paper and pencil):
- Someone besides yourself, your mother, your best friend, your spouse, or the well meaning girl who sits in the next cubicle, to read your work. To not only read it, but dissect it. To point out where your strengths lie and where you’re weak. Someone who is not afraid to be unflinchingly honest and who knows the difference between an adverb and an adjective.
- A support group. I’ve written before about the importance of like-minded individuals who you can commiserate with.(Read: Takes a Village.) Find them, nurture them, respect them, grow with them. An actual, physical writer’s group, or an on0line community, it makes no difference. They are as invaluable as your unbiased reader will be to your growth and development. As you will be to theirs. It’s a two-way street, whether you feel you have something to offer or not. They will be your sounding board, your source of information and inspiration, your shoulder to cry on, the helping hand to pick you up and dust you off, and they will be the first doing the happy dance at your success, no matter how small. They will hold you to your goals and remind you of the responsibility you’ve taken on by declaring to the world, “I’m a writer.”
- Books on writing. Strunk and White ~ read it, memorize it. A dictionary and thesaurus – yes, you can find them on line, but there’s nothing like thumbing through the real McCoy. On Writing by Stephen King is worth the read. Ask your support group what they’d recommend. And don’t only read these books, but learn from them.
- Books. In your chosen genre, out of it, out of your comfort zone. A writer needs to read. That’s my belief. Good, bad, or indifferent, read as much as you have time for. But don’t read because you feel you have to. Don’t read because you are actively looking to dissect someone else’s published work to figure out the nuts and bolts of it. Read for enjoyment and, by osmosis, you will begin to realize what works and what doesn’t and your own writing will become stronger.
- A sense of adventure.
- A sense of resolve.
- Patience. You must write, re-write, edit, write some more, edit some more, possibly re-write great chunks you thought were brilliant. It takes time. Readers need time to scour your work. Agents and publishers need time to decide if they want to take the chance on you. Nothing about writing is quick, even when you can type 100 wpm.
- Self-discipline. You will be, for the most part, your own boss. If you have two hours a day you can devote to writing, and you spend it playing video games or plucking dead leaves off your Hibiscus, there’s no one to blame but yourself.
- A thick skin. Guess what? Not everyone will like the tome you’ve spent years slaving over, crafting and polishing each word until it glows on the page. In fact, you may find, no one likes it. Suck it up. If you want to write, you must learn to face rejection and not take it personally. The world is not out to get you. They don’t hate you. That reader, at that moment, just doesn’t connect with what you’ve written. Fix it. Toss it. Sit on it. Move past it. If you don’t, you won’t grow.
- The ability/desire/drive/need to write. It’s what writers do. The more you write, the better you become. As the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercise those muscles.
- A sense of balance. Writing is a solitary endeavor but you can’t forget the basics. You need to eat sensibly, get some exercise, socialize every now and again. Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, you do need to interact with other humans.
I’m sure there are other things you’ll need. Some I’ve forgotten and some I haven’t thought of. But if you made it through that list and you still want to be a writer, then what are you doing on-line reading Blogs and Tweeting? Shouldn’t you be writing?
This entry was posted on January 2, 2012 by K. L. Schwengel. It was filed under Writing and was tagged with authors, creative drive, creative people, creativity, goals, On Writing, Stephen King, tools, working, writing, writing tools.