Do you want to be a writer? If the answer to that question was yes, there are two things that authors and writers universally say make a good writer, and those two things are:
First, be a reader. If you’re not reading, you’re not going to know what people like, what structure looks like and how it works, how to comprehend the text. Find what you like, and what you dislike, this is how you learn what your passion in writing is. When you read, you know what the rest of the world is missing, and you write that. Writers need to read. They need to read a lot, they need to read everything. Find your grasp on the art. You will find in your writing that you will lose your words, that you will hit that feared “writers block” if you’re not reading. In the words of William Faulkner, “Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just as a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write…”
Read to be inspired.
Second, be a writer. Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” When you can’t think, write. When you can’t speak, write. When you can’t sleep, write. Carry a notebook with you. Sleep with it, eat with it, travel with it, let it extend your arm and open your mind. Give life to those pieces of cheap paper, or that blank, white screen. When you can’t write, read some more. Let the cycle bring you fully around. This is writing, this is the art that we as readers and writers gladly become slaves to, because writing bears our very souls to the world. “When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.” (Jorge Luis Borges)
And now, I bring to you a third tip that I’ve come to believe will make us better writers and readers.
Go to a writers conference. This may sound silly, you may push back and reject that thought, but before you do, let me explain. Meeting someone with the same mindset as you is rare, but here you have hundreds of people who are on the quest of questioning and learning the same as you are. You want to learn about the industry? The difference between self publishing, and traditional publishing? How about using a little of both? What’s a pitch? You’re telling me I have to give an agent a single sentence to describe this entire book that I’ve written, and hook them in that sentence in order for them to even consider my manuscript? Well, how do I do that?
Want to learn how to write a true super villain? How about learning to write a child, or from the perspective of an animal? How about the perspective of your toothbrush? Ladies and gentlemen, reading and writing go hand-in-hand with continual learning, and what better place to learn than among your peers? I challenge you to go to a class, or two, where the authors of your favorite books are teaching you how to create a believable magic system, and tell me you didn’t learn something. Ask them questions. Make new friends, and ask them questions. In the end, the purposes of attending a conference far outweighs the reasons not to. Network, get to know new people. Pick up the business cards, and check them out. “Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” (Julia Child)
Remember, read your heart out. Write until your fingers and minds are numb, and fuel that passion being surrounded by those who love what you love.
Have a good week, all! Until next time.
For a list of upcoming conferences, see: https://writingthroughbrambles.weebly.com/writing-conferences-2018.html
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.