Monday, November 18, 2013

The Stages of Writing in My Life


From Kate's Writing Crate…

        When I first learned to read and write, I dreamed of being a writer without any idea of how to become one. I knew I needed a desk, pen and paper. I pictured rows of my own books on the shelves behind my desk in my own home office, but I had no idea how what I wrote by hand turned into bound books.

        When I was a few years older, my favorite thing to do whenever I visited my grandparents was entering my grandpa's book-lined study (how I wished I had one of my own) and sitting in front of his ancient typewriter and pretending I was a writer. He kindly put paper in it so I could peck away writing about their all-white cat, Puffy.

        As a good student, I was praised for my essays so I thought, "I can be a writer." When I made my High School English teacher—a gruff, stern man who scared me—laugh, I thought, "I am a writer." But what's the next step?

        I took as many English classes as I could in college. I wrote in journals but sporadically as inspiration hit me. Then I discovered Natalie Goldberg's advice to fill a notebook a month in her book Writing Down the Bones. That got me writing regularly.

        Years later, I started off as an unpaid proofreader after my corporate day job. I worked my way up to staff writer and editor of one, then two, then four publications. Now I had to write on deadline. No procrastination. No waiting for inspiration.

Being new to the professional side of writing, the pressure of deadlines forced me to write. Eventually, I could complete three to eight articles a month as needed. I could also turn out last minute articles if something fell through. Now I felt and acted like a professional writer.

        Then Cheryl suggested we start this blog where we would encourage anyone interested in writing to become a writer. Excited and apprehensive, I made a list of topics I wanted to cover. The new weekly deadline made this a professional endeavor, but I wanted it to be fun so I started waiting to be inspired.

I publish on Mondays. Sometimes I started writing on Thursdays or Fridays or even Sundays. I finished up my posts between my weekend activities.
However, my paid writing and editing assignments had to take priority, so I didn't always have time to wait for inspiration for my posts. I had to become a professional blogger. I had to write posts when I had the time to write posts not just when I was inspired.
As most professional writers note, the simple secret is to put your butt in a chair and write. Writing on demand is an important discipline to learn. Furthermore, as E. M. Forster wrote, "How do I know what I think until I see what I say."
Now I have reached that stage of writing—and it is surprisingly fun and inspiring!

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