I knew from the time I was a little boy, five or six maybe, that I wanted to grow up to be a writer. I was always a constant scribbler and avid reader. I stepped away from this idea for nearly thirty years. From the age of seventeen until I was thirty-seven I was in the Army. Late my life I rediscovered writing
- Learning to Write
Learning to write well begins with learning to write exciting and engaging sentences. Exciting sentences are written to paint a picture with words for the reader to enjoy. I struggle to select words and write detailed descriptions in simple, short sentences. Trying to find the perfect words to express my thoughts is a challenge, but one I enjoy. A great story is a series of picture captured in words. It allows the reader to meet new characters, go new places and experience new things.
The best thing about being a writer, is that I am in control of the world I create. I am the ruler of a tiny universe, where the words I write allow the reader to visit new place and experience new things.
- A Place to Write
Choosing a place to write is a complicated thing. I have written in basements, bedrooms, hotel rooms, apartments and coffee houses all over America. Maybe criteria for a writing place should be simple. A corner or a place where no one will notice a man scribbling or typing or reading. A place where a man can stare into a blank space and not be noticed. A place that gives you an anonymity of a sort where a man can become a writer.
I found such a place in my home. A corner bedroom that has been converted into an office. There was nothing special about it the first time I went into the room. It had been my step son’s bedroom when he was a boy. In this place I am very far away, at least for an hour or two each day.
- A Promise
In that old bedroom I found something. It really wasn’t anything I thought would be there. It wasn’t a book and it wasn’t even an idea. What I found in that room was the knowledge I needed to survive as a writer. I found something a strategy for survival as a writer. In the days that followed I froze, sweated and dealt with my issues.
I made a promise to myself to work on my first novel.
- Trial and Error
A great story keeps your imagination racing, your eyes glued to the page and your finger turning the pages. When the story ends, if you loved it, you know were in the hands of a master and feel a sense of loss when the story ends.
A great story has interesting and believable characters, a strong plot and natural-sounding dialogue with lots of action to keep the story moving. To do all this requires practice and patience. No one is born a great writer. It takes years to of practice to become an outstanding athlete, musician and dancer. It take a long time to become a great writer.
You can learn any craft by trial and error or by instruction. Trial and error, undoubtedly, is the more time-consuming, and frustrating method. The frustration often becomes so intense that you become discouraged or just give up. Writers, perhaps more than any, other attempt to master their craft through agonizing trial-and-error method. Yet getting specialized instruction and putting in the necessary hours of practice is exactly the way a writer should learn to write.
Some insist that creativity can’t be taught. Writers can be taught and must be learned if writers want to become successful.
- A Page a Day
After sitting my writing space in that old bedroom I did a very strange thing. I started writing a novel. I had no idea what I was doing or why. I promised myself I would write a page to three page a day. At first they were awful pages. They were the pages of a young writer trying to find his way in the dark. I fell in love with writing in that room. As I wrote, I learned how to survive and how to thrive as a writer.
I have attended conferences, classes and seminars on writing. In all the courses I’ve taken I was never told how to survive as a writer. I learned that writing was the school of hard knocks and tough experiences. There are lots of books on how to published and make a bestseller and how to sell books. But to survive in a society that does not recognize as a viable way of life is very tricky. Most people will not do it. If you are looking for a safe way to write, this advice is not for you.
These posts are the writer. These posts are for the person who has no choice in the matter and who makes the decision to be a writer or die. It is that serious. I knew once I wanted to be a writer there was nothing I could do about it, these posts are for other aspiring writers who feel the same way.
America has no patience for artists. America is a can do country with a Puritan work ethic. Artists are outside that charge.
If you are still reading this post, this is a good thing. My experience is my story and my story alone. All writers have a different story. You may hit it early, later or never at all. I have been up and I have been down, but through it all I have always had one goal…to keep writing.
- A Declaration
Let me begin by telling what these posts are not. It is not a guide on how to get published, though I will cover some aspects of that. These are not how to write posts, though I will share what works for me. These posts are for the writer in you struggling to get out.
This is a guide on how to survive once you have made the decision to be a writer. This is a decade of experience I bring to the table. I have survived as a writer. There is only one simple declaration needed, “I am writer for better or worse. There is nothing I can do about it. I am a writer.”
Ok. Now. I will tell you how to survive.
- A Writer
Do not expect support. It’s not going to happen. Your parents, your spouse, mother, brother, parents, counselor will not tell your decision to become a writer is a good one. Because being a writer in this society does not fit it. It never has. America does not support the arts. America supports people that work regular jobs and come home and do it all over again. America does not support someone who sits down to…what..write?
When I made the decision to become a writer, almost no one supported me. They encouraged me to get a “safe” job to “provide” for my family. Being a writer is like becoming a Priest. It’s a calling, not a conscious decision. It is something I realized in my soul. Once I knew I must become a writer I was powerless. It was a moment of truth. I could not ignore the impulse to write, I could not try to paper over it and go back to a “safe” predictable life. Once I had decided to become a writer, I had come into the light. I knew being a writer was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
- A Writer Writes
When I started to write, I started very simply. I just wanted to write two pages a day of my first novel. When I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, they suggested I try to get a real job. But, this is my job. I AM A WRITER! They rolled their eyes.
I knew I was a writer. A writer is someone who writes as Hemingway put it. That’s it. It is not predicated on published works.
I started simply. I stated a simple sentence that armed me for whatever would come at me: I am going to be a writer whether I am successful at it or not. It is just what I am.
Good. Now everything will be alright.