On Writing

writing-ppcI am passionate about writing. I’ve loved writing from a young age. I still have my handwritten attempts at writing a Nancy Drew novel as well as my attempt at a Star Trek novel. However, today I write non-fiction along with an occasional poem. I’m the girl who loved essay assignments in college. I signed up for every writing intensive course I could find. I was often disappointed that the classes were not challenging enough. I wanted to be pushed to grow in skill and technique.

Once I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and an emphasis in Journalism, I felt bereft. I no longer had anyone giving me writing assignments. I would tell people that I’m a writer and I want to be an author one day. I wanted to write books. One person, a published author friend, told me to start writing. Don’t wait for an assignment. She said I’m an author if I’m writing even before I have a published book. Don’t wait to write the book one day. Write now. Blog. Just write.

This was incredibly freeing. My mind set was stuck on becoming an author one day. Writing a book one day. Becoming a free-lance writer once someone gave me an assignment. Instead, I stopped waiting and started writing.

Once I started I couldn’t stop. Words came to me all the time. If I opened up a blank word document I was sure to fill several pages quickly. I blogged on blogspot.com, I blogged on MySpace.com and then I began writing for an on-line community called Helium that no longer exists today, but I wrote a couple hundred articles at least 800 words a piece on that site. My skill increased by writing, more than it had ever grown in class.

All the while I was reading books and writing a little at a time on a book idea until after ten years it became a published book. I’ve found in life, that if you wait for that moment when all things will suddenly line up for you to do start writing a book – it will never happen. You have to start and take the time you carve out of your busy week and when you do you will find more and more time opening up because you make it open up. You go after the dream of writing instead of waiting for it to one day happen.

Back to the Future: Rebuilding America's StabilityMy first book was a long journey of researching, growing as a writer, and writing a little at a time. But I already have a rough draft for my next book. It came so much faster because I’ve sowed so much time into writing that I have found my style and confidence as a writer. Sometimes I wake up in the morning already composing in my head eager to take a moment out of my day transpose the thoughts.

Back to the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability is a product of ten years of reading, thinking, and writing. In preparing it I read over fifty books and spent many hours thinking. In 140 pages, the reader gets to taste over 50 books and glean from the knowledge contained therein.

A few things that have helped me hone my craft:

Reading – I read lots of books. I aim for 52 a year every year. I’ve not accomplished this goal yet, but I always read with that goal. Sometimes this means reading for ten or twenty minutes at a time maybe while waiting for the oven to cook dinner. We won’t find hours to read if we don’t first find minutes to read. If you start reading, you will get books read.

Writing – Write as often as you can. Doing it again and again is the best way to find your style and grow in skill.

Resources – There are a couple books I recommend that were better than any college writing class I took.  On Writing by Stephen King and On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

This article is composed from my notes of a talk given on writing at the Virginia Beach Central Library Meet the Authors Event on June 1, 2017. The library hosts these events every first Thursday of the month. If you are an author, or a reader, please come out and support your local authors and your local library by attending these events.

 

To purchase Back to the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability click here Amazon.com.

 

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