Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today talking (writing) about writing. Is there any other topic? Seriously, I live, breathe, and think writing. It’s in my blood. It’s something I must do.
I was around ten years of age when I realized I wanted to be a writer. I began to scribble stories on notebook paper. Back in those days, we didn’t have computers or video games to keep us entertained, and television was two or three channels at the most. But I had a vivid imagination and would often act out stories. (Pretend is a great game in case you didn’t know.)
I continued writing through high school. I went through a poetry phase when I was around the age of sixteen. At seventeen, I decided to write a novel. I got out my trusty pen and began putting words on paper. I didn’t have a clue about story structure, plot, or character development, but somehow the finished product contained these elements.
Once completed, the story went into a drawer and never saw the light of day. Eventually, I threw it away, thinking it wouldn’t ever be good enough to share.
In my twenties, life got in the way of writing. I entered the workforce, married, and picked up a few hobbies along the way. But my dream of becoming a writer never left and eventually I began writing again.
Life also has a way of changing us. Sometimes we grow cynical. If we fail at something, it can interfere in other areas. The ten-year-old child who willingly shared her stories with her fourth-grade class became an adult who was convinced she could never write anything worthwhile.
Finally, thanks to a good friend and fellow writer, I shared a piece of writing. She opened a door for me, and I never looked back. I only wished I’d started sooner.
Personal experience taught me a few things on how not to become a writer.
- Write only for yourself. Don’t share your work with anyone. Allow fear of rejection to interfere with your desire. Listen to the inner voices that say, “I’m not good enough.”
- Throw away your work. Delete all your first drafts. Don’t go back and edit them. As an added measure, empty the recycle bin to ensure you won’t be able to recover your work. Never save anything.
- Don’t listen to advice. Reject all advice from more experienced writers and editors. After all, you know what’s best. Others don’t have your best interest at heart.
- Talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Simply saying you’re a writer doesn’t make you one. You must write and write often. I’m not going to say you should write every day but set some goals. Stick with them. IMO, it’s better to set a word count goal than to say something like, “I’ll write one hour between starting at eight p.m. each day.” Lots of interruptions can happen during that hour, and you could end up with zero word count. It’s better to set a goal such as, “I’ll write 1000 words five days a week.” This way you can write in several sessions if necessary. The important thing is to complete your goal.
- Fade into the background. Act like a wallflower, keep to yourself, and don’t interact with other writers. There’s an old song from the 1964 movie Funny Girl titled “People.” The song talks about how people who need other people are lucky. Writers tend to be introverted (I know I am) but we still need the interaction and support of others. Fading into the background is never a good idea.
It’s your turn now, readers. Share some things that have hurt you in your quest to become a writer. Let’s learn from one another.