If you are serious about being a writer, you MUST believe there is room in the world for another great story. You also MUST learn to tell your stories well.
The most repeated advice to new writers is – you MUST write a million words BEFORE you will write anything worthwhile. Many writers were journalists before they started writing fiction. Working for newspapers or magazines, they learned to meet deadlines and edit their work.
And to answer your question – YES!! I wrote well over a million words in my career before I wrote my first novel.
To be successful at any career, you must handle yourself in a professional manner. This means honoring commitments on time and producing what you promise.
I cannot recommend David Duchemin’s book enough: VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography. Although he is writing about being a professional photographer, his comments apply to anyone considering a career selling their creativity.
If you want to write, you need to be determined enough to keep pursuing your dream when everyone else has quit because it is just too hard OR you accept that writing is something you do in the time off from your regular employment.
Are you still with me??
Then here are some basic tips about writing well –
1. Write as if you are talking to someone you know and trust. Pretend you are telling your story to your Granny, who adores you but does not know anything. You need to explain things to her, clearly, so she can follow your story and not get lost.
2. Read what you have written OUT LOUD several times. If you get stuck trying to say a sentence, your reader will get stuck too and probably find something easier to read.
People generally read on their off time, for pleasure, and if they cannot easily understand your writing, they will go off and read someone else.
3. Write clearly and simply. The point of writing is to tell your story, not dazzle anyone with your esoteric style and prolific vocabulary!!
For the last ten years I was a creativity coach, helping people reach for their dreams. One of the things I told all my aspiring writers: I am one of the most educated, intelligent and widely read people who will ever read your story. If I do not understand it, 99.9% of the people will not understand you either!
I repeat: The point of writing is to tell your story clearly so someone else can enjoy it.
4. Write about what you know. That advice is always repeated because it is true. Most advisors will tell you not to attempt writing until you are at least 40 years old with some life experience. I disagree. There are teen writers who have created awesome stories.
But I will agree about the life experience. You need to know what you are writing about or it will not sound authentic.
5. People ask me about writer’s block and where I find inspiration. Please read my section, “I’m just the typist.” I write stories that ask me to write them. If none are hammering on my brain demanding to be written, I go on with my life. Sooner or later, usually much sooner than I would like, another one comes along!
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is THE best book about creativity. She also maintains a wonderful website at http://www.theartistsway.com/
And the answer is YES – I do morning pages and I pray for help with my creativity. Whatever your beliefs, there is overwhelming experience from creative people over the centuries, if you ask for help, you will receive it.
If you have more questions or comments, please do send them. You may comment on this Blog (all comments must be approved so you may ask for me to leave them private) or send me a Twitter.
Whatever your dreams – follow them until you make them come true. In my experience, old people who did what they needed in life are happy and content. The miserable ones let their dreams slip away.
After coaching other people for ten years, leaving my dreams on the sidelines much of the time, I am very thrilled to place my dreams first!