Hi again, happy to see you, and welcome back to those of you returning…
To more pressing matters; specifically, matters involving writing, the process, and what you get on the other side, I’m going to gather what information I’ve found useful in my own attempts at writing my imagination down.
Being an unpublished (both intentionally and undecidedly so) with an interest to pursue my hobby, my passion, to its utmost I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours pouring over websites, books, guides, lists, and every other manner of self indulgent educational material to see what exactly it is that makes writing work for some and not for others.
And I don’t mean lacking the ability to obtain something to write with, something to write on, and string sentences together but rather the ability to convey your idea, whatever form it takes, to an audience who, from the offset, has no investment in anything you’ve written other than because you wrote it.
So, in the hopes of consolidating a small list of tips, help, and other bits of knowledge to remind myself, and hopefully a few others along the way, a few things to keep in mind when writing, re-writing, or editing.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a published author (yet, hopefully soon if I follow my own advice) so take the following for what you will, it’s only what I’ve pieced together from a lot of late nights researching the topic.
1. Write, Write, Write… Oh, and keep writing.
The basic tenant of most writers, and sites I’ve found in my searching is this; if you want to write is to write.
There is no magical formula, no step system in place, and nothing that will do this step entirely for you.
Yes, you can have writing software (I recommend Scrivener, a GREAT program in my opinion), yes, you can outline, brainstorm, plot, and even follow a fill in the blank to create your story, but it is the simple act of doing just that, creating that story and bringing it to life in text that gives you the most gain.
If your ultimate goal is to write a book that others will read, you yourself will need to read the work others have written.
Many inspired writers scoff at the concept, citing that in the end the masterpiece they are writing could come off sounding like whatever book/series they had just read and not of their own voice. And while that may be true to a point, in the same vein, however, if you don’t know what other people have written?
If you haven’t read something that moved you in some way or made you feel for a character, or even on the far opposite end of the spectrum, if you’ve never read anything so horrifically, offensively, bad that you instantly wish to set fire to every copy of said book on sight, then how do you know what to do and what to avoid?
Reading what others put out there will do one of a few things; show you what works and show you what doesn’t work. Incredibly helpful things to keep in mind when formatting your own writing.
3. Allow yourself to fail. Often.
This was the one piece of advice that I found that hit me the hardest and made so many things clear in my attempts at writing and what I would genuinely suggest any other writer to consider and perhaps keep tucked away in some recess of their mind.
You will, at one point or another, write something that when you look back over it you’ll be driven to ask why no one has outright removed your ability to put words to screen or pen to paper.
I’ve done it I still do it and admittedly it’s far more often than I’d like for it to be. A sentence won’t sound right, it doesn’t convey anything to the reader nor advance the story or plot.
It’s textual garbage.
But the odd part about it, you have to give yourself that much, give yourself that room to stumble and fall on your face, the ability to put down words to represent your idea in whatever offensively bad way it comes out; once its down, re-visit it later and rip it to shreds to make it work.
Making it work will take time, but the more you keep up with the Writing and Reading, having to allow yourself to fail will eventually (hasn’t happened for me yet) help you spend less time writing down that garbage.
It’s not perfect and it’s not a 3 step solution to being the next big seller on whatever market you may have your work planned for but keeping these things in mind will help you get there sooner than just doing nothing.
Agree? Disagree? Have more to add to make these actually true? Or even better yet, are you an author who has gotten your work out there and have better advice than what I’ve found?
Throw it in the comments and let’s discuss!