So you want to be a writer?
Every minute of every day someone around the world is making the discovery that they are and have the ability to be to part of that group that has been deemed as Sages and the Masters of Literature for ages. That group is called writers or authors. This post is for those of you who have just made that discovery or commitment that you want to be a writer, so as a fellow laborer I would like to share some of the things that I have learned over the past fourteen years.
I initially started writing at the age of 10 but I wasn’t taking it seriously until I turned 16 and since then I have made up over a hundred stories. As I’ve been writing and experienced regular fits of frustration I have come to realize that even though I find good writing advice it can still be proven wrong when it comes to my work so the solution was that I had to learn my identity as a writer and what type of stories I kept conceiving. When I learned my style then I knew what kind of advice to follow for my work.
- My first lesson that I learned is ‘Know Thyself’. As a writer it is important that we first objectively identify who we are and how we do what we do. This is done through evaluating our work, where our ideas come from and our writing habits.
- The next thing that I learned was to always be ready to learn. Writers we need to absorb a lot of information for the main reason that we’re never sure when we can use something. Whether it’s a piece of advice or an odd discovery – keep information at your fingertips because you never know when you’ll need it.
- When it comes to advice… know when to take it (that includes this post). This ties into knowing yourself and identifying your voice. I say this because you know your work best. Be objective, honest and true to your work; this is how new voices are born in the literary field. I have had several people to comment on my work and even though sometimes the scenario that they gave was not where I wanted to take my story, I still heard them out because they could have said something that might have inspired me. What am I saying, should you take every piece of advice given to you? No, you have to learn what works for you and although you can discover something new by listening to others there will always come a time when you need to trust your instincts. Know when to hold true and when to listen, the biggest test is when to do one or the other.
- The next two go hand in hand, read and write. A writer cannot become excellent without practicing the craft. If you are currently unpublished use, this time, to prepare yourself by setting work habits that work for you, seek to deepen your knowledge and sharpen your craft. Also, it helps to read a lot, especially in the genre that you are writing. This helps you get a feel for the genre’s market, what is being done and what is isn’t. To truly succeed you have to do your homework.
No man goes to war without first counting the cost.
You need to prepare yourself for greatness, don’t just wait for it to fall out of the sky.
My Thoughts on Being Alone as a Writer
Sometimes it can get frustrating when you want someone to read your work and you don’t have that opportunity but I learned not to be so anxious. I think that period alone with your work should be used to gather confidence in your unique voice. Once you start letting other people read your work, you let them inside of a sacred place that was once blocked from the world.
Now, I’m not downing having readers or getting your work critiqued but I think that when you start off writing it is important to just write. Write to discover, write to enjoy the craft with no outside interruptions. Once you let in other voices you do grow and learn about how to better relate your work to an audience bigger than yourself but with that also comes to a pressure to please others rather than telling the story that you have inside. I believe that this is a part of why writers are solitary creatures; we need interaction with life to live, learn and gather but we also need the silence to create. This process can be painful/exciting and time-consuming – I think it is like giving birth. It tears at your soul and leaves you open as you build from the recesses of your mind for the world to see. Don’t underestimate the silence, learn to embrace it.