If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge. Proverbs 19:27 NLT
So you want to be a writer? For many with the dream of being writers, the thought seems to be I can just sit down and start stringing words together. How hard can it be?
After a while, reality sets in. The words don’t string together as easily as we expected. Even after we string several thousand, no one wants to buy what we’ve written.
Recently, I began taking horseback riding lessons. And I quickly learned how little I know about horses.
When it comes to writing, like riding horses, there is a lot to learn before we swing into the desk chair and start tapping the keys.
Some of it can be overwhelming.
The best way is bit-by-bit.
We need to learn, or re-learn, the basics of composition and grammar. The principles of story-telling. How to create characters readers will be interested in. And such esoteric concepts as show-don’t-tell, point of view, the three act structure, outlining versus pantsing, conflict and tension, dialogue.
Like in the cartoons, our brain goes TILT! Springs and nuts and bolts explode out of our heads.
Hang on, dear friend. All this material can be learned. If I can learn it, you can learn it. If you have the heart’s desire and the talent to be an author, you can learn the craft. But you must be willing to make the investment in time and money.
Study books on writing. Attend workshops and conferences. Seek out writers who are better than you for mentoring and coaching. Participate in critique groups. Risk.
And practice, practice, practice. Write every day. Get up early or stay up late. Write on your lunch hour or when the kids are taking a nap. Explain your dream to your family, enlist their support.
Set realistic goals: so many hours or so many words per week. Give yourself a deadline for completing the first draft. When you achieve any goal, reward yourself for it: a movie, chocolate, dinner at a favorite restaurant.
See yourself as, and call yourself, a writer.
And never stop learning.
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