Monday, June 1, 2009

On Getting Older and (Hopefully) Wiser

In the more information than you need to know category, I was born at 1:17 pm on June 1, 1978. Today is my 31st birthday and I’m feeling philosophical so without further ado, I’m going to share the best pieces of writing advice that I’ve ever heard.

1. Writing takes commitment. Ok, to a seasoned writer, this would seem to be obvious, but as a relative newbie, it wasn’t. I had always written, but I only wrote when the muse visited. I would start something and not finish it. I wanted to write. I just didn’t commit to it.

2. Treat your first few years of writing like an apprenticeship. It is very rare that a writer gets his first book published so write your first book, then your second, and then your third, but while you’re writing them concentrate on learning the craft and getting better and better. In theory, by the end of your “fourth year” of apprenticeship, you should start seeing some success. I really hope this is true and I think it almost has to be. I can tell that I’m getting better as I write.

3. Find a support group and/or tell people what you are doing. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. People think that writing is a solitary pursuit and to some degree this is true, but it is easier to be successful if other people know what you’re doing. The Tri Mu have been a godsend for me because I have people constantly asking me about my writing. They are there to bounce around ideas when I fall in a logic hole. They’re my first readers that tell me “Yes, let’s see more of this” when I’m walking through the bogs of despair. I couldn’t do this without them.

4. Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. The only way we get better at anything is by doing it. Elite athletes practice. They train. They eat, sleep, and dream about the sport that they play. Elite writers write. Keep writing to get better at writing.

So now that I’ve blogged, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my birthday and hopefully, give myself the best present ever, writing The End on TDC.

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