Things every potential writer should know
Many people dream of becoming a writer, of reaching out through the medium of their writing to others. Some think about it periodically through their lives, picking it up and putting it down. I have been guilty of that, real life gets in the way; it takes you off on a tangent, you feel selfish and guilty for pursuing your dream etc. Writing is often a lonely road. Your peers may say to you when are you are going to get a ‘real job’. For those of us that have decided to run the gauntlet and follow our dreams; the fun has only just started.
After the initial euphoria wears off that we are doing it; we are finally writers. We step into the real world of writing and that my friend, is tough. We start to encounter all sorts of problems. While we have been dreaming about becoming a writer others have been doing. The writing world has moved on, new technology abounds everywhere. There will be abbreviations you don’t understand and if you have the courage to ask ‘what does that mean’; you will feel even sillier when you find out WIP = work in progress. I know it happened to me and not too long ago either.
We realise not how much we know but how little we know. There are a million and one things to learn and here are but a few of these. We need to learn about social networking, how not to alienate people by spamming them, how to connect with someone rather than just playing games. No, Facebook is not just for playing Mafia Wars, Farm town and sharing that you had a boiled egg for breakfast. It is talking and connecting with others, helping each other out, building relationships and sharing knowledge. I have always believed that knowledge not shared is worthless. You should not use it to make yourself better than someone else.
Writing is not such a solitary profession now, people are connecting. What other things do we need to learn? Well, have you ever watched X Factor and saw someone who was obviously living in a dream world? They come out all confident because their friends and family have bigged them up telling them what a great singer they are. They open their mouths and everyone heads for the hills, the local cats run away and the dogs howl. Well that can happen to us writers, we think we are good because we become the hype other people tell us. If we have no talent, isn’t it better to find out and then go and do something we are good at. Sometimes you have to cruel to be kind but our family and friends won’t do that to us because they love us. We need to grow and develop life is about change. Hey, but here’s the key, only if we want to. In order to grow we have to leave our ego behind and seek an independent opinion. Where do we get that, from an expert?
All artists are sensitive it is a prerequisite to our craft, it what makes us see what others miss. Let me talk to you honestly, you need to toughen up if you want to be a writer or any artist. You need to get used to rejection after rejection. Think of it this way nothing worth having is easy. We don’t learn anything from things we do well the mistakes in our lives are the manna from heaven, the pearls of wisdom that we seek. If you can put the hurt to one side and look at it constructively and ask questions. ‘What did I do wrong, how can I improve my work’ you will go forward. However, I warn you that you will need nerves of steel and a whole ton of motivation and dedication. If you break through the mire the rewards cannot be measured, you will feel on top of the world.
Still want to be a writer? Listen up, then. I will say this slowly, you are not gonna make a million over night, that is extremely rare; but not impossible always hang onto that, whilst having one foot in the real world too. We have all read success stories about people like J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter books) who went from single parent in a council flat to overnight success. Hey, guess what that doesn’t always happen. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, writing is not the game for you. Readers are far from stupid; they can smell a fake a mile away. If it’s not in your heart it won’t be in your writing. Wanna know something else; it will cost you money to hone your craft. A lot of money, which is why you need to research your subject talk to other writers and find out what you need to learn. Take advantage of free classes. Don’t throw your money away it is too hard to earn in the first place. Don’t be in awe too much of the experts, show respect but ask what you are getting for your money.
I could go on and on with many reasons and blocks to being a writer. However for those of us, that are in this for the ‘long haul’ to coin a phrase of Kristen Lambs, writing is the reason we get up in the morning. We live and breathe it, we are hungry to learn and yes, sometimes we become overwhelmed; that is part and parcel of our learning curve. If you persevere you will find a way out of the jungle. We are in a unique position today as writers; we have technology at our fingertips that enables us to reach thousands, millions of people. We can walk our own walk, we are no longer beholden to publishers we can and self-publish for free.
We are extremely privileged and honoured that Kristen Lamb has taken us under her wing and gave us our own social network in WANA. Kristen in publishing her books ‘We are not alone’ and ‘Are you there blog? It’s me’ has shared her pearls of wisdom to give us that head start we need, some of which I am passing onto you now. However, the books themselves have so much more to offer. At WANA we are a growing movement of dedicated professional’s not just writers but all manner of artists. Some artists are already leaders in their field and some just starting out, like me. We are reaching out in service first to each other and changing the world of writing.
I for one am proud to be a fellow pioneer of such a thriving, creative community that gives before it takes. If you still want to be a writer please come and join us today. Why today, because today, is the first day of the rest of your life.