It’s like, everyone who wants to be an actor goes to Hollywood.
But what if you want to be a writer? Well, you can go to Hollywood, too. But that’s usually scriptwriters. There’s probably more scriptwriters hoping for the big break than there are actors.
So where does a writer go to learn the ropes and get noticed?
Figure Out the Basics First
Writing opportunities are everywhere and cyberspace is full of them. If you wish to be a writer, it’s currently easier than ever before. However, I do know that you first have to figure out if there is a writer in you.
- · Did you start early in school being that kid who always had a pen and notebook ready? I started writing poetry at about age 9. Wrote for my high school paper.
- · Do you visualize your story in video format while you’re sleeping or with your eyes shut? Can you rewind the scene in your mind, at will, and describe what you’re seeing?
- · Do you have late night conversations with story characters who refuse to let you sleep until you write their tales on paper? There’s a fine line between writing and insanity.
- · Have you talked yourself out of the idea? Knowing full well that, if you just sat down and started the book, it would all flood out?
- · Have you “studied” the craft of writing but didn’t think there was a quality book in you? Maybe you’re setting your sights too high?
- · Is your advancing age making you believe that you better get that book on paper before it’s too late?
- · Or, are you a “late bloomer” and never even considered writing a book until just lately… for whatever personal reason?
If any of these markers look familiar to you, then I’m pretty sure there is a writer in you.
The hard part is making the Muse respond to you. The Muse is that mystical entity that allows you the freedom to write without restriction. It’s the unbound creativity we all have tucked away somewhere inside. The Muse wakes you up in the middle of the night and demands to be heard.
I’ve fought the Muse at 2 a.m. and found myself sitting at the computer pounding on the keys like a madman. And creating a pretty dang good story concept. The Muse can run rampant in your brain and make you start a dozen story ideas, then leave you exhausted.
Taming Your Muse
The hard part is taming your muse to work with you.
That comes with using writing exercises to help focus your talent on one idea at a time. Getting that rough draft or outline on paper is a partnership with the Muse. Defining that partnership will become the temperament you’ll need to continue a long novel, write a nice piece of poetry, or create that children’s book you’ve caressed in your heart. If the Muse is tamed you’ll become the writer that produces regular, quality work. You’ll let the Muse have some fun and give you new exciting ideas. You’ll also need to be patient when the Muse abandons you in front of a blank computer screen.
All in all, there is a writer in you clawing its way to the surface. Now draw it out and start with the first four steps:
- · Say out loud: “I am a writer.”
- · Make a list of your story’s main characters and their traits. (You can refresh your mind later) I like to use index cards to keep my characters descriptions and goals in mind.
- · Be consistent with your writing time or you’ll become frustrated.
- · Begin writing down your story idea in a list of plot ideas, an outline, or just start the first scene from your mind. Don’t worry about how it looks. Don’t be a perfectionist yet.
Your Bonus Step
And, the bonus “step”: share your writing with others who you can trust to give you good feedback. Read some of your excerpts to a friend, join a writing support group like California Writers Club. I’m sure there’s a writing club near you. A writer, who keeps his work in a closet, is a consumer of paper and ink. No more, no less.
Then when you have your first draft… the hard part begins… editing your work so it’s the best and most readable product you can offer. Only then will you have proven to yourself that you are a writer.