When I began writing I knew very little about the rules of writing or how to go about the process of achieving a finished product.
All I wanted to do was write. I didn’t want to talk about it or debate the literary merits of other works—I had a story inside me and it needed to come out.
I chuckle when I look back now at first drafts. They were rough but they were a beginning that showed me that editing is a wonderful invention.
Learning the art of writing takes time and diligence but it is very doable. Make sure you read a lot, ask questions of other writers, and don’t allow yourself to become a complete hermit.
The life of a writer is very solitary—which I love—but it’s important to engage within a writing community for your own personal growth and sanity.
My Five Rules for a WRITER
1.) Don’t judge and/or compare yourself with other writers
No one else has your experiences, your thoughts, your dreams…
There will be many that are better writers and some that are worse. Make sure you read a lot as this will come through in the quality of your writing but the focus needs to be on your own creative process and property.
Doubt and second-guessing is a huge part of the writer psyche but can also kill your self-esteem and will to continue. Always, always, always remember that you are unique and no one else can write like you.
2.) Strive only against yourself because no one is you
You are **where you are** in your writing career for a reason. Ask yourself how much work you put in. Is there a lot of lip service and not a lot of producing? Why? Or why not? Writing is not easy—it’s hard work but ideas aren’t going to cut it, you need to put your butt in a chair and get to work.
3.) Hopes and dreams need to be turned into goals and hard deadlines
Are you still working on the same book that you were seven years ago? Why isn’t it finished? Maybe it needs to be scrapped or maybe it needs a hard and fast deadline for completion. I can be a terrible procrastinator and time waster—hey isn’t that why social media was born? I got to a point where I needed accountability for completion. That came by being honest with myself and my poor work habits and setting up stick timelines and having someone check-in with me.
4.) Identify as a Writer
This can be very difficult for some as they don’t believe it themselves. Stop and consider the fact that many in our world can’t even figure out what to write on a birthday card let alone write a story, book, essay, poem, etc. Don’t sell yourself short. Work on owning it but do prepare for the inevitable questions of what do you write? where can I see it? etc. These are natural questions of conversation. Tell them something like “my portfolio is on my computer but I hope to publish soon….” or whatever your situation is.
5.) Find and join a writing community
Because of the solitary nature of the work, it’s important to connect with our peers. This could be in conferences, writer’s festivals, Twitter, online, your local library—it doesn’t matter where or how, just that you do it.
A writing community should be supportive and allow you to be yourself. It’s a place to learn and share information about what’s happening. It also gives you the opportunity to support others while connecting on a professional level.
Next time, I’ll give you my Five Rules for Writing!
Go Forth and Conquer. You can do it. Have a good week.