Lessons in Writing – 1

I am by no means a “professional” writer. I decided very recently that I was going to pursue a career as an author and since then it has been an uphill struggle.

I’ve spent as long as I can remember writing stories, hoping that someday I would write a novel. Seven years ago I finally began working on my first manuscript and three and half years ago, I self published the work online.

I was convinced, after only a single pass at editing (mostly for continuity) that it was complete and ready to be presented to the world. Six months ago, I took down the manuscript from where it had been published as I was working on its sequel.

I pulled it down because during the writing of the sequel. I had to look back and find something I knew I referenced in the first book (I was horrible at keeping notes when I wrote it) what I saw, written on only two pages of more than three hundred, I found appalling.

My first manuscript, my baby, my ego swelling accomplishment, was complete garbage. I say this not from an “artist is never satisfied with his/her own work” viewpoint, I say this because, objectively after so long not looking at it, the work was near unbearable to read.

The point of view switched too often, leading it’s own author to confusion, the dialog was too formal and didn’t flow well, and, finally, the grammatical error count was astronomical.

I have since finished the rough draft of the sequel, which now resides in a dark corner of my hard drive, and I have begun the process of truly writing on the first. In the few months since starting the daunting task of trying to capture my vision, I have learned more than I’ve ever thought possible, and I continue to learn every day.

My first lesson in writing, that I had to unfortunately needed to learn on my own, was to not rush the process and be prepared to start over. Furthermore, edit, revise, edit, edit, revise…

Just Write…

Being a part of a fiction writing group on Facebook has led me on a journey filled with discovery and understanding. The group, Fiction Writing, consists of thousands of members, many of whom are published both traditionally and on their own.

Over the last few weeks of being a member, I have read a great number of posts where people are doubting their ability to set a scene, create natural sounding dialog, or even tell a story in general. I have commented on some posts, those that I know the correct answer or may help them gain inspiration in their endeavors, but in reality being a writer is much simpler than the write, edit, revise, rewrite, repeat, process.

Writing is digging deep inside ourselves to uncover truths we ourselves may not even realize until it is typed or written on the page. We struggle at times to figure out the story in front of us because in truth we struggle sometimes to figure out our own story. Life is a giant web of decisions, one after the next, that leads, I hope anyway, to a better understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.

My advice to all those who aspire to write, are writing, or have written works, published or not, that find themselves in that hard spot between “I’m so excited” and “Where the he’ll is this going” is this, Just Write.

It can be hard sometimes, but we are writers. It’s not like we aren’t going to sit down with our favorite writing medium and write anyway. It’s more than a want, it’s a need, and at the end of the day, all it takes is just one thought to stoke the fires of creativity in us again.

Just write…

~ Jon~