Your fondest dream is to be a writer. Good for you. Go for it but remember to write and write well, writing requires practice, a lot of practice and the determination to write and write well. If you want to be a writer then you need to write and rewrite and write some more…Read more.
SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER
From the time I was a child I had this dream of being a writer. I wrote little stories about just about everything a child can imagine and I wrote poems. I kept a journal and a diary and even made my own little books and drew my own pictures to go with the stories I wrote. Of course everyone thought it was cute at first, when I was really little and then by the time I was in my teens I was being silly and it was a silly notion I needed to get out of my head.
I went on to other things for a time and entered other fields of endeavor but I never lost the dream of becoming a writer and sometimes, for the love of it, I’d write a poem or an essay and now and then a story that popped into my head; and I kept a journal and a diary. I researched subjects of interest to me and wrote down a mountain of notes that I kept in notebook after notebook and I read, I read everything I could get my hands on and I never have gotten that “silly notion” of becoming a writer out of my head.
I’ve been writing off and on for several years now both as a hobby and as a content writer. For the past few years I’ve been writing on a professional level though I’m not getting rich at it, not yet anyhow. There is still the love of writing and knowing I’m in some way giving to others.
I think the desire to write is an innate sort of thing, maybe God given, at least for some; some just seem to need to write almost as much as they need to breathe and for others writing is a skill they have to train for as part of a particular job skill. Even for we who write out of some deep desire for the written word and being a part of it, quality writing takes learning how, developing writing skills. It requires practice, a lot of practice and the determination to write and write well. If you want to be a writer then you need to write and rewrite and write some more. Write. Write. Write. Right?
To be a good writer you need to constantly and consistently be aware of the world around you and yet be somewhat detached from it all, be the observer and take notes. I love people watching, sitting in a coffee shop, a restaurant, the village park, a concert or ballgame, in an open courtroom or your local school board or selectmen’s meeting, wherever there is a public agenda or social situation and just watch people, observing how they act and react and interact with each other, even make notes on conversations overheard. Just watch and listen. It is a good lesson in character study that you may be able to draw on later for the characters in a story or your first novel.
Be a good observer of your surroundings. This will come in handy when you need a setting for that story you are writing or an article on a certain area. Notice the environment, the nature of the place, the buildings, the ground you are walking on, the sky overhead or the ceiling and floors inside a building, the walls and what is on them, the furnishings, the drapes and curtains or lack of them and how everything is arranged whether it is in a home, a business or your local doctor’s or lawyer’s office. Notice everything from the flowers on the coffee table to the types of magazines on the stand to the coffee perking and its aroma. Take notes.
Here is a good exercise for writers or people who dream of being a writer. It is an exercise that was given us by the leader of a writers group I belong to. Starting tomorrow morning, even before you make that bathroom run or get a pot of coffee going write down the first ten words that come to your mind, don’t think about them, just write down the first ten words that pop into your mind. Keep that piece of paper because you are going to add to it. Now you can go about your morning routine.
Okay now take a walk around your home and write down the first ten things you see. What aromas or odors can you smell in your kitchen, bathroom, refrigerator, laundry room? Write it down. Go outside and make note of the weather; write it down. List the first ten things you see. List at least five sounds you hear. You are talking with your spouse, your child, your pet or your neighbor on your way out the door; mentally step back and briefly describe the scene in about ten words. Whatever and wherever your job is write down the first ten people, places or things you observe when entering your work area. Describe your lunch break in just ten words. Write it all down. Describe the traffic in just ten words either to or from work or shopping or an appointment, or all of them if you want to. Write it down. Walk into a grocery store and write down the first ten things you see, people, place or thing. Stop at your local coffee shop for a quick cup of coffee or tea and in ten words describe the scene around you. Make a ten minute stop at your local park and write down everything you see and hear using just one word to describe each thing you observe. Back home, just before you go to bed write down just ten words that describe your evening.
This list is going to be used for your writing assignment next month so file this list away and keep it. Next month you will get that list out of the file and you will have just one week to take all these observations and write the first draft of a story using the words that you used to describe your day and then we will work on polishing it up, proofreading, editing, rewriting until you have a great story.
If you want to be a writer then you need to write. Write something. Keep a journal, a diary or just write down a shopping list or your plans for the weekend. It doesn’t matter how trivial it may seem, write something every day even if it does seem a little weird and wacky. You’ll be surprised where that list will take you.
Okay, here are another few things we had to do. Write down the happiest memory you can remember from childhood, every single detail you can remember. Put your notes away for a month or so and get them out and write a first person story about it.
Write down all the details of your most embarrassing moment, every detail and put it away for a month. Get it out and write your story. You don’t have to use first person but you can if you want to.
Listen to the news and write down every detail given on at least three stories.
Put it away and get it out later, maybe a few months from now and write your own story. Make it fiction based on fact.
Write down every detail you can recall including conversations about your last big family gathering and later on use it to write a story. Change the names and the setting a little to protect your family relationships or you may never get to attend another family gathering.
You get the idea. Write about what you know, what you observe using all your senses. Write poems, short stories, essays, articles, commentary, dialog, both fact and fiction, just keep writing. Once you have something written put it away for a few days or a few weeks and then get it out and improve on it. There is always room for improvement. Get someone else to read it and critique it. Listen to their suggestions and use those you feel comfortable with.
One other thing, read, good writers read other writers. Read the classics again. Read books by the bestselling authors and don’t limit yourself to one genre. Learn what works and what doesn’t. If you write poetry or song lyrics, go to open mic sessions and listen to other poets and song writers. Share your own work. Listen to what others say. Some will like it and some won’t, so don’t be offended; instead learn from the reaction and consider the source. It will help you to improve.
Set reasonable goals for yourself and do the ground work before you put it all down on paper, do the research and above all, keep writing.