Friday, July 06, 2012

Back When...

I had a very nice phone call from an old friend the other day. He recently retired from the military and had decided it was high time to start writing again after putting it on the back burner for several years. He called to ask me what advice I had for an aspiring writer.

I admit that I was slightly dumbfounded for a minute. How long had it been since I had walked in his shoes and been an aspiring writer? Years. I started this writing journey in the sixth grade. That's a long time ago.

But as I talked, I became more and more excited, eager to share with him the joy that is writing. I was so glad that he was taking this step and I tried to encourage him not to worry too much about the craft right now, but just to get the words down and write without that internal editor breathing down his neck.

How long have you been on your writing journey? If you had a piece of advice to give to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

18 comments:

  1. Melissa, Writing is still so new to me, and I am eager for advice myself-but I would say that I think one of the most important things a writer can do is to write honestly. I can put any old words on paper-that is easy-but I want to make sure they really and truly come from within me. Does that make sense?

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    1. It makes complete sense and that is excellent advice. I think I still struggle to write honestly because I don't want to risk offending someone, etc. I think writing honestly also means you write from your heart. :) BTW, I think you are SUCH a talented writer. Keep at it!

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  2. I love to write, but don't have the time to put into it that I would like. The best advice I've ever received about writing was to choose one thing to journal about every day. Great for learning how to develop your writing and also a wonderful collection of ideas to page through later!

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    1. That is a good idea, Erin. I used to do Morning Pages (an idea put forth by Julia Cameron) where I would just write three pages of whatever I wanted to - to open up the well, so to speak, every morning (or in my case, sometimes every night before a writing session). It certainly helped to get the gunk out.

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  3. Good advice you gave to your friend. I've been writing since elementary school, too. The best advice I can think of is to keep at it no matter what. There will always be naysayers and critics, but you have to let that stuff go. Also, to write regularly. Some people say every day, but that's not feasible for everyone.

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    1. I agree, Brandi. I can't write every day. Well, I suppose if you count emails and other projects I do, but I don't specifically write on the NOVEL every day, and when I don't, then I feel like I DON'T write every day. Weird!

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  4. Like you, I started this writing journey as a kid. I don't even want to think how many years its been! My advice would be this: to keep at it. I've seen so many people quit just as they're starting to make strides!

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    1. So true, Charlotte. Keeping at it is such a basic truth to writing. I know people who have quit, too, and it just makes me sad, especially when I can see the talent they have for writing. But if you don't have the desire to do it, then there's no use in forcing yourself and being miserable.

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  5. I've been wishing to write since junior high, but finally got serious with it in 2006, in that I wrote a novel for NaNo, then never looked back. And that's the key; to keep writing. Write, then write some more. Read as many different kinds of books that appeal, then write some more. As I type this comment, I see your quotes, and Joan Chittister got it right. It takes tremendous guts to tell a story, but we're the only ones who can share these tales.

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    1. I'm so glad you started writing, Anna. And you're right - you just have to keep writing!

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  6. I think don't give up. It's been 4 years since I was an aspiring writer and my writing work has taken a very different route to the one I imagined. But life does that sometimes!

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    1. I know what you mean, Flower. When I started writing my historical fiction, I never thought I'd write historical non-fiction articles, yet here I am.

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  7. I never considered myself a writer until recently. History and writing seemed, oddly, very different paths to me. Since I started my website, family and friends have remarked that they think I’m a good writer. I would smile and thank them but internally I brushed it off. My issue is that pesky voice inside my head that tells me that my writing isn’t good enough or professional enough. The whole self-confidence bit, especially in my writing, is a work in progress. But the more I seem to work at it, the littler the voice becomes and the braver I get in my writing. And the braver I get, the more honest my writing becomes.

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    1. Unfortunately, that little voice that says "you're not good enough" NEVER goes away. All we can do is muzzle it and keep on pushing forward. I'm so glad you're gaining self-confidence in your writing. Keep at it!!!

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  8. That is so nice he called you and wanted encouragement!
    My actual quest to write a book began in about 2000 I think. Been writing other stuff way before. Here I am on my 7th or 8th book and still learning so much!

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    1. It's a never-ending learning process, isn't it, Terri? But I think that's a good thing - life (and writing) is all about learning!

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  9. It's neat when anyone gets the urge to write, no matter how soon or how late in life. I started as a kid, too, but advice I'd give to later starters is just the same: pour your heart out and don't worry about the rules till you've got a first draft.

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    1. I completely agree. I also told him that I wish I could write with abandon like I did when I started. Sometimes I think I had more fun writing back then!

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