Monday, October 15, 2012

Becoming a Writer Takes Practice and Perseverance

From Kate's Writing Crate...

          People look at established writers and authors as though they woke up one day fully-formed and sat down with pens and paper or in front of computers and churned out flawless prose. Au contraire as working authors and writers will tell you.

         On CBS News Sunday Mornings 9-10:30AM, many authors are interviewed about their latest books usually in their sanctuaries so you can see how they really live and work. No two have the same writing routines--and ideas come to them differently.

          Even after writing 200 books, Nora Roberts said on the show recently, "It's still hard work." She writes 6-8 hours a day.

          Those who write the books we love are human just like us. The biggest difference is they didn't give up. They wrote. They put in the hours, improved, and succeeded.

          We can, too!

          Writing is not a zero sum game. There is no writing limit, no global word count. Everyone in the world could write and the world would be a better place. People would feel validated. Communication skills would improve. Imagine if everyone wrote--all those unique voices and points of view shaped by countless cultures would reveal the human condition in all its facets.

          However, not everyone has the desire or, sadly, the education needed to write.

          Also, most writers I now know were discouraged from becoming writers. It seems like other people cannot believe anyone they know is smart/talented/interesting/unusual/(pick-your-own-reason) enough to be a writer.

          Who are they to judge or jeer?

          Writers who write are happy--willing to grow, finding opportunities and taking chances. 

          Since each beginning writer has a fragile belief in him- or herself, the writing dream can be crushed easily. Plus we do not know how to become writers. There are no apprentice programs--so just keep writing.

          Write. Write in secret. Write at night. Get up early and write. Keep writing however you can. Fill a spiral notebook each month.

          I always wanted to be a writer, but was told no money/future in that so I ended up being an accountant despite no happiness in that for me. I kept reading about writing. I wrote on my lunch hour. I also scribbled down lines that came to me as I worked on spreadsheets.

          I confided my dream to an equally unhappy co-worker. Turns out she wanted to be a doctor. Since we were stuck, we decided to help each other. I picked up a pre-med application for her and she found a writing class for me.

          In the class, I met a magazine publisher and a newspaper columnist. The first hired me to write; the other recommended me to intern at a small book publisher where I was later hired.

          The former co-worker is now a doctor back in her home state and I am a writer and editor--both as happy as can be.

         All it took was one brave step in the right direction--so be bold and then be happier!

What bold steps have you taken to become a writer?

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