Thursday, September 15, 2011

5 Essentials for Every Writer


The following are 5 essentials* that every writer should know, else wise they will forever be ignorant and unloved to their maximum potential. So says an eminently wise person who presumably was a hugger and greatly appreciated by everyone around. 


1. Write. I would elaborate, even if only as a way to illustrate my point, but really, this super essential and so basic, I think you got it handled. If not, grab an ice cream, turn on Sponge Bob Square Pants, and never mind. Life is good. And then you can proceed (those not living under the sea) to essential number two, which is…


2. …write more better…er. Or whatnot. Writing is what we do as children, what we do as a hobby. Writing for the serious sort should be about craft and that means, yup, you have to write. Step one? That was just, hey, I have a notebook and I sit on a park bench and I mostly dream a bit, but sometimes, sometimes I really pour my heart onto the page and I swear I see a reflection of my soul. Essential two is about writing with a purpose, writing with an eye toward publishing, and that my friends means a daily commitment.** Committed, you can…


3. …recognize that you really know nothing, and what you've done to this point is vanity and likely crap. Not everyone achieves this essential step. Many published authors never reach this level. If you are one of the lucky ones, then welcome to the land of Writing World (I wanted to call it Zippity Do Da, We All Love Writing Land, but time and space constraint issues noted by the editor in my head nixed that idea. He can be a bit of a party pooper, who, by the way, hates the word pooper and all related derivations).

Knowing nothing isn’t a bad thing, though it can be a depressing realization when it occurs, which might be why authors will tend to view ‘GETTING PUBLISHED’ as a reason to only peak in the direction of essential number three and quickly revert to number two. Getting published is a goal, not an end. We gotta be progressive sharks people, on the move constantly and in the direction of improvement. To improve, we need to…

4. …focus… and write like we mean business. This means free time is about writing, folks, and sitting on the couch zoning, that has to end- for lots of reasons, but writing should be chief among those reasons, because hey, we’re at essential number four and we’re starting to get serious.

Getting some focus means, in a nutshell, that not everything you write is wonderful, so deal with that. You have some clunkers and now you recognize that you have clunkers and you have some idea what to do to fix the problems. You can smell bad writing and it isn’t acceptable. You’ve churned books and you know what works and what doesn’t. You know your audience. You are a success to fans, small children, total strangers, but really all that matters at this stage is that you are a success to yourself. You can stay at this level if you want, or, you can…

5. …go forth, write, be zen, challenge what you think you know. You get to this level, you learn this essential of writing, you look around and you think to yourself as the surroundings seem so eerily familiar… shit! I knew I had been here before. There is screaming, internally and externally. There are the normal steps of denial and then, with courage, you resign yourself and- you feeling yet, where this is headed?

Yeah. It sucks. There’s no other recourse, though. You have to go back, back to the beginning. Essential five gets you to the point where you have to…

…write.



* As determined by me, really, the author, this morning as I sit at work not doing general work-type stuff. Take it as you will with that full disclosure in mind.

** No slackers. Writing is practice and volume and it takes time. So write. If you want to complain about this point, write to me. I won’t listen, but at least you will get some writing in today. Every bit helps.

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