Monday, October 22, 2012
There’s a lot to be said for dreaming. That’s how many writers come up with stories, after all. Dreaming of writing success can help lay its foundation, but only if you can move from dreaming into doing.
Becoming an author is not unlike the process a caterpillar undergoes to turn into a butterfly. You start out a lowly worm, wrap yourself in a protective cacoon, and then burst free to fly. Here are some tips to help you spread your wings sooner.
D is for Discipline: The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair [Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966)]. The old-fashioned trait of self-discipline still wins the day. A writer willing to put in the time to improve increases the chances of success.
R is for Read: There are few ways to learn the writing craft as pleasurable as reading good books. Reading books from the masters teaches the craft of writing by example and helps you discover your own writing voice. Don’t make the mistake of cutting reading out of your schedule.
E is for Edit: Setting a manuscript aside and returning to it later with fresh eyes can be humbling, but push yourself to write your best. Muscles tear a little with exercise but heal stronger. In the same way, stretching as a writer can seem painful but causes you to grow.
A is for Attitude: Any battle takes place first in the mind. Hold each thought captive and measure it against truth. Common areas of struggle for most writers are overcoming a negative self-image, jealousy of others’ successes, apathy because it seems no one cares about your writing (not true: you do), and fear of success or failure. Prayer helps.
M is for Monetize: Even if you don’t have a mercenary bone in your body, offering your writing for pay helps you set the bar higher for quality. Besides the obvious benefit of putting money in your pocket, monetizing your writing helps you take yourself seriously as a writer.
S is for Serve: Giving to others helps take your focus off yourself and can save you from becoming an insular, self-focused artiste. Besides, it’s rewarding and will enrich your life. Look for ways to benefit another writer, even if you’re a fledgling yourself. You can at least encourage someone dealing with a rejection.
You’ll notice that the bolded letters spell out a special word.
Never stop dreaming.
Which of my suggestions most resonates with you? Do you disagree with any? Have thoughts to add?