Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of writing basics, is brought to you by science-fiction / fantasy author Paul Lell.
For the longest time my answer was, “I just sit down and do it…”
Then I got to thinking about it. I did some reading and some investigation on the process of writing. I did a little soul searching and ‘dug deep’ as they say; and do you know what I discovered? I just sit down and do it!
So as not to appear trite, let me explain myself a bit better here. If you want to be a writer / author / novelist / whatever (they’re all pretty much the same thing in my mind), you need to write. Just as if you wanted to be an artist, you need to produce art of some kind, or if you want to be a baseball player, you need to play baseball. It comes down to motivation and practice, really. While I do believe there is a certain level of ‘inborn’ talent that can really push a person over the top in their chosen endeavor, I also believe that just about anyone can become just about anything they want, as long as they knuckle under and put forth the effort it takes to learn, practice, accept feedback (read: criticism), go back to the drawing board and occasionally reinvent themselves… In short, they need to commit themselves to the process of evolving into what they want to be.
To get back to the question, “how do I do it?” The more complete answer is, “I write every single chance I get. I write good stuff. I write bad stuff. I write terrible stuff (lots, and lots of terrible stuff). Occasionally, I may even write some great stuff. But I write, all the time. Even when I have nothing specific that I feel I need to produce, or a story to tell (which doesn’t happen very often, by the way). I have piles and piles of junk writing lying about my hard drive, filled to overflowing with writing that will likely never see the light of day.
I also throw away any pretentious thoughts that everything I write is gold and should immediately be published so the world can bask in the glory that is my crazy mind. I have no illusions about being the next [insert amazing author’s name here]. I just hope that somewhere, someday, somebody might enjoy one of my stories. I keep trying to refine my craft. I share work with people and ask for brutally honest feedback. Then I don’t cry once I’ve received it.
It is a rare bird indeed that can turn a love (or in some cases, a compulsion) for writing into a comfortable living. Much like teaching, one should never enter into the world of writing novels with the expectation or love of money as motivation. Rather, do it for the love of the craft. The difference you might make in the lives of yourself and, hopefully, a few other people.
I’m still working on the living part, but loving it certainly. Thank you, Paul!
You can read more about Paul Lell, his books, and his crazy life, at www.Kalijor.com.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about.
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with children’s author Jeyanthi Manokaran – the five hundred and thirty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.