The Writing Process

Read a lot

Read a lot

Writers employ a lot of techniques to improve their craft. I’m trying to learn some of these so I can actually call myself a writer some day. (Some people say you can’t call yourself a writer until you have been published. I don’t count posting on my blog as being  “published.”)

Learning these writing lessons comes in various forms.

Here are some things I’ve learned from all this input:

  • Read a lot. Most of what I read is adult fiction. This includes new releases and the “classics.” I punctuate this with memoir and non-fiction.  Now I’m reading children’s books.
  • Listen to published authors. Our library system brings in some wonderful writers. Often they talk about their inspiration and also the process they use in their writing.
  • Gather writers around you. I’ve attended classes, workshops, and joined writing and critiquing groups.
  • Take classes. Right now I’m taking a free on-line class on how to write children’s books.
  • Write every day. Every single writer I have ever heard tells you this. Writing, by the way, may be sitting and staring into the distance or it can be writing letters, journals, or even index cards.
  • Experiment. Sometimes imitating good writers can push you out of a slump. Often fiction writers compose poetry.

Certainly I write every day if you count answering emails. I’ve always enjoyed writing letters and much prefer communicating this way over phone calls.  Selfishly, writing letters lets me control what is said. But when it comes to other writing, I falter. That’s one reason I take classes and join groups.

My hardest challenge as a writer is coming up with a workable idea. Most of the ideas for this blog come from listening to the radio and observing and participating in life in the city.  Lots of ideas intrigue me. Just this week I’ve thought about the topics of password fatigue, value added testing in evaluating teachers and students, the challenges of sustaining friendships, and the Supreme Court’s comments about Affirmative Action.

These topics interest me but don’t belong in the blog because they either require much more depth than I normally prefer or they are of a personal nature that would best be in a journal or the idea peters out before I can bring it to any logical conclusion (I lose enthusiasm).

Most of the time writers become published authors because they are persistent. One of the women in a critiquing group I support has a novel ready for beta reading. She was worked consistently to write and rewrite her work for years. She has constantly nurtured a community of writers to support her and her process. She has done research, compiled a library of resources, and parsed documents for us to read and use when we are writing.  She listens and responses to our ideas.

Not all people have the passion, determination and personal grit to take this journey no matter what their calling.  This means that the book you are currently reading was probably written by someone who you can admire, if for no other reason, for his or her dogged faith in themselves.