In my last blog, I wrote about reassessing where we are in our life journey. Click here.
When we consider our writing life, it’s easy to focus on the negative things, the hard things. As I reassessed, I also thought of the good things about being a writer. Thus, the catchy title to this blog.
I identified what I consider four of the best things about being a writer. The best for me, anyway. I’m sure there are more. Each of us has a unique writing journey. This is mine.
Creating stories is why I write. I welcome the challenge of doing something I thoroughly enjoy and doing it in obedience to God.
A large part of my process is letting new ideas marinate in my brain. I’ve shared how most of my story ideas come from images that pop into my brain. It’s usually the image of a person. Sometimes it’s a part of the story world, a part that grabs my interest.
My latest image is of a man standing in the doorway of an Old West saloon, drenched from the pouring rain. It’s late at night. He’s soaked, chilled, and hungry. His name is Joe Cooper. Why is he here the first question? And a story begins. I’ve written a couple of pages, but I’m waiting for Joe to tell me more.
Learning from the characters is part of this. About themselves. Their goals. Their values. How they see God. If they’re part of a series, it’s seeing how they’ve grown over the course of the series.
Building a story world is always fun for me. I enjoy the research that helps me make my stories unique and real to the reader.
Let’s not forget plotting. I’m a pantser, so the word plotting has a different meaning for me. For me, plotting is determining what my character wants and what is preventing him or her from getting it. What propels them into the story and what keeps them there?
The actual writing is a joyful release where all this pondering, marinating, brainstorming, and researching flows into reality on the screen before me.
Learning is one of the best aspects of writing. Learning about the craft and learning about people. There is a value in reading books and magazines and blogs, in following podcasts and webinars. We can learn so much about tools and techniques to improve our writing.
Brick and mortar bookstores are also a valuable resource. It’s fun to wander a local bookstore or a Barnes and Noble. More fun than browsing Amazon. Something unusual will catch my eye, or I’ll talk with a sales associate who loves books as much as I do. Chatting with other customers in the same aisle I’m in.
In-person conferences are awesome and I’m so grateful to God they’re making a comeback. We’re in that focused environment with teachers and other writers. Friendships and encouragement flow like a mountain stream.
Good critique groups are outstanding for sharing our work, learning about writing, and developing meaningful relationships.
Relationships are important because even though writing is very much a solitary practice, we can’t do it in a vacuum. We need people. Over the course of my writing journey, I’ve had outstanding teachers and mentors who stick with me. Fellowshiping with other writers builds bonds that help us when we feel alone. Working with agents, publishers, editors, and other professionals strengthens and educates us in learning the craft and the business of writing. For many of us, writing is a calling. We need to remember it is also work and these relationships help us navigate the river of the journey.
Helping Other Writers
For me, helping other writers is right up there with creating stories as one of the very best things about being a writer. When God makes a way for me to help another writer, it’s a way for me to pay forward for all those who helped me on the journey. Being active in a critique group is part of this. And God has opened so many other doors for me in this area: I mentor, coach, edit, and teach. I enjoy seeing other writers grow in the craft as I help them learn about who they are as authors and as I help them fine tune their calling to be servants of God as writers.
How about you? What are some of the best things for you about being a writer?