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LESSONS I’m learning on my Journey to becoming an author.

04 Jan

In today’s world, anyone can be published, whether their work is good, not so good, or just plain bad. If I can’t convince an agent or publisher my writing is fantastic and saleable, I can always and easily publish independently.

I’ve got books inside me, just waiting to be written. But I like to do things well, and I want to succeed.  I’ve got a long history of starting books that stall out after a few chapters. They still call out to me to be finished, but I have not known how to translate my thoughts and ideas into a finished project that, with just a bit of tweaking, will become that perfect novel or story. Each story attempted began to wander and finally peter out at some point.  And I found convenient excuses for letting them languish, the most common being:

I don’t have time, because I have responsibilities… there’s the kids, … the job, … the {insert here whatever else is a regular part of living}.

There’s something alive inside me that tells me I have to write. I have always seen stories around me, just begging to be written. When I was much younger, I spent a few years writing weekend features for a small newspaper. Those were easy. Always a well defined amount of space to fill,  a few pictures to snap for illustration, and guaranteed publication. So it’s not surprising, with my background, that the first serious book attempt – with no excuses – would be a “how to” book. This blog was born as a place to collect my thoughts. The process was clear to me:

I know I can write non-fiction.  I have a grasp of language, and this is a subject I am passionate about.

But as anyone who has followed my journey has seen, there was that STORY waiting to be told —  and it demanded my attention and let me know it needed to be written. I am still writing a much shorter “how-to” non fiction book to accompany my novel that  “shows and not tells” the experiences of mature women including choosing, and learning to shoot a firearm safely.

WizardOfOz

Courtesy of pamela-p.deviantart.com

 

 

While it’s easy to be witty, easy to amuse and even amaze your friends and family with short spurts of original writing, a novel is a horse of a different color, and it doesn’t take long to realize  you’re “not in Kansas any more.” No yellow brick road or wonderful wizard behind a curtain is going to provide you with the heart, the mind and the courage this process is going to take.  It’s work. Amazingly difficult at times, but filled with joyful growth if you persevere. It will require adjustment of your self image and development of a “thick skin.”

I’ve shared the first lessons of my journey in the “Writing the Book” category of this blog, and may include a few of them here. My intent with this page is to summarize and share the resources and lessons I am learning along my way as they happen, rather than trying to categorize them.  My plan is to add to this with the newest discovery, lesson or resource entered at the top of the list.

If you have discovered things and resources on your own journey, I would love to hear about them. Sharing what we learn is important!

 

 

Here are the first lessons I’ve learned from the new page on this BLOG, just launched: LESSONS I’m learning on my Journey to becoming an author.  


4.  Find a group of other writers to discuss, review and critique your work. If you have a writer’s group close to where you live (I don’t) – go meet with them regularly.  If you don’t, online help is available.  I discovered the  “Critique Circle” through a comment here on WordPress.  Good, solid, constructive critiques and sharing of technique happens in this environment. The “cost” of these groups is typically giving critiques to other writers.  It’s writers helping writers and sharing what they have learned. I was very surprised that reviewing and giving help to others is one of the best ways to grow in your own writing and self editing!

3.  First drafts are meant to suck.  Go ahead and finish them, even if your chapter/writing is flat or just plain bad. This is you getting your story out, you’ll work with later to polish it and make it shine. Nothing springs forth fully edited and complete. That’s what revisions and drafts #2 – #9999 are for.

2. Study fiction writing from successful authors. I have found these resources here on WordPress and other Blogs, browsing through amazon.com, Goodreads. Start following and forming a community- of other authors on Twitter.  Look at the “creds” of those supplying lessons.  I am wary of those wanting to “sell” me lessons, many of the truly great authors have written books generously sharing the craft, and many blog freely.

1. Read a lot and constantly.  You’ve got to have a rich background and love of reading: the classics, and particularly in the genre you want to write.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Writing the Book

 

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