What Do I Know About Writing?

Samuel Taylor texture through glassesI’ve been asked before what I know about writing and I have the same answer for everyone that cares to listen; NOTHING! It’s not that I’m a hard ass, wanting the questioner to struggle through the same bullshit learning that I had to do. It’s not that I’m a pious in individual thinking that I’m better than you, and can’t be bothered by such mundane questions. Writing, like a life, is a personal learning process that begins with experiences and continues throughout your life. Yes, I have written two books (Spoon Girl and Malaise, published by AuthorHouse), but to me that means nothing; every day there is more to learn, more to experience. The meager things I can tell you about writing, is that it’s about putting words on a page that somehow make sense to you (if it doesn’t, that can be fixed in editing.) If you ask me about advertising, and get the word out about your novel, short story, etc., I might just be able to give you some pointers. Writing? It’s a thing you do with the voices in your head. The more you write, the better you could get. The how to write though, it’s within the individual.

The process of writing is typically lonely. You and a computer are unseparated for finite amount of time. Most of the time you are looking at each other, wondering if either of you is going to fill up the white space. I spend my 15 minutes driving to work thinking about what I might write about that day. Other down times are filled about thinking about my novel. If I’m writing a specific chapter, I’ll map it out in my mind for later regurgitation. I don’t have a problem remembering the plan (so far), but you might want to have something to record ideas you might come up with.
Many famous writers have blocked out their schedules to write at the same time of the day. Setting a routine does help. I try to write over lunch at work. It’s the only time, I find when my mind is already working, and can tap into vein to get down a few words down on the blank page. Writing is not a race. Writing is a destination, so plotting out the story is helpful, whether it’s the entire idea or breaking things down so you can get from A to B.
Many people recommend writing down as much as you can. You need to stop that little person in your ear that makes you want to edit every word, change every sentence as you move through writing. It is a given that the first draft is crap. Except it! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if you can write completed full novels without it have to be edited, then you are in a different class all together. While Mozart might have been able to write original orchestrations for his musical works in ink and pen without making mistakes, most people are not in that league. Again, life is a learning experience. As you grow with your knowledge, you will learn how to make your writing better. Tweaking will become second nature to you as you continue to write.

READ READ READ. If you are writing, you should read. There is nothing better to keep the creative juices flowing than reading other things in you genre. Not to plagiarize them but to learn. I think it was John Updike, when he was young and just starting out, that used to keep a book of phases from other novelists that spoke to him. You never know when you’ll need a turn of phrase that could be simplified, and oh, look, this writing said it best, then by taking one of these sentences you’ve written down, modifying them, and making them your own. If you believe in the 10,000-hour rule (Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell), you too can be an expert, by just putting in the time, reading and writing.
A lot of these things you’ve probably already heard, but they bear repeating. I’m not an expert. Actual mileage may vary. That’s all I know, and it’s what I’ve learned from other writers. I think writing is like starting a self-exercise program. You use what you got, then you see what others do, modify it to suit what you like or can do, and eventually you make it your own. It might hurt you. It might make you stronger. You might try to get a coach to help you, but they can’t do the exercise for you. You need to make the effort and you can’t blame others for not having the time. MAKE THE TIME!

Besides my own Facebook page, I run an online writers support group writers at http://www.facebook.com/onlinecommunitywriters There you have a group of 500+ strong if you have a question, comment, or you can take advantage of the knowledge drawn from other writing websites. It has a blog site too http://www.onlinecommunitywriters.com . There you can download presentations, and other writing information.