A few things for you on this Monday. (Minus the recipe. No Mealtime Madness today.)
I wrote my first story beginnings when I was a little girl. As I approached the end of my elementary years and headed off to middle school, I stuck with my stories for a while longer, but never wrote past the middle. I completed my first novel at 116,000 words when I was 33years old. That was one year ago. Since then I've rewritten the beginning beyond a laugable amount of times and the entire thing once, not including the additional edits along the way. I'm also 60 percent done with a second novel with ideas ready to take off for a third.
I've learned a few things.
And want to celebrate by sharing them with you. Of course, you're probably the ones who taught them to me in the first place. So maybe what I'm saying is THANK YOU!
*The best writers out there 1) read A LOT. 2) write EVEN MORE.
And they don't just write the scenes in their manuscript, but also the writerly thoughts that surge through their brain all day long. TRY IT! While out walking, what do you notice? Do the leaves on the weeds seem to be waving at you? Do solitary leaves do somersaults on the pavement as the breeze breathes life into them? Do trees bow down as your car drives beneath them? Do the crowds of trees that encircle you while treading water appear to be seated on bleachers around the stadium lake? Does a conversation at the table next to yours at the cafe strike you as note-worthy? Does the perfect color word for the sun setting on the horizon pop into your mind? YES? WRITE IT ALL DOWN!
You never know when one of those amazing thoughts might come in handy in a manuscript. Even if they don't. Write them down anyways!
*The best writers out there pay attention to what they read.
What makes the book you are reading memorable? Why do you keep turning the pages? What endears you to the characters? What dialogue makes you giggle? What dialogue makes you go "Awwwwww!" What dialogue makes you weep? WHY? What endings fall flat?
MAKE NOTE OF THESE THINGS. Why? So you can do it, too! (Or not.)
*When you're ready to be a serious writer, you need to take yourself seriously as a writer.
Make time to do it. NO. Set up time to do it. STICK TO IT. My husband continually refers to my writing as a hobby, and I don't know what it is about that term, but it aggravates me. I've given up arguing. No, I'm not making money. Yes, I'm a long way from finding an agent and an even longer way from signing books at the local Barnes and Noble. So, even though I might be the only one who realizes that I'm serious about being a writer, deep down, I have to believe it.
One of the things I'm doing now that I'm beginning to take myself seriously as a writer (I'm not there yet. I have a few doubts and insecurities left to tackle and discard.) is reading my very first WRITING book. So far, I love it. I think it was a great first choice. I got it for like 3 bucks on my kindle. Plot and Structure-Write Great Fiction by James Scott Bell. Bell suggests to take yourself seriously as a writer and to start out 1)buy yourself a mug that says 'Writer' and 2)set a daily word goal (NOT time goal). I'm working on both of his suggestions.
*Taking notes on kindle is an amazing feature that I love.
I've been rereading parts of The Sky is Everywhere to 'highlight' (underline) the imagery, dialogue and other quotable writing I find. I also highlight while I read Bell's book. THE BEST PART IS: the kindle stores the stuff I've highlighted in a separate spot so I can view ONLY the text I've wanted to remember. It separates each quote and makes note of the page numbers. LOVE IT!
*Having multiple readers/crit partners/beta readers is invaluable.
Everyone has different taste. Whether it's clothes or movies or food or jokes. This is no different in the reading/writing world. Your writing may not click with one person while another may want to devour every word you scribble. Why is this? Style. Genre. Word choice. Beliefs. Etc. People get second opinions from doctors. We need them before putting our writing under the knife also. Not only should you not take EVERY piece of advice a critiquer offers, but you should weigh several opinions and think on them before making hasty changes.
Recently I posted my first page here. (Okay, more than just recently. Just scroll down one post!) I DID post revisions. In the past, my posting revisions was a hasty move on my part due to embarrassment and uncertainty. If someone didn't like something I panicked and my cheeks burned and my heart sank. This time, I only felt gratitude. I really thought about the suggestions from commenters and was able to do so objectively. (See how much I've grown! LOL!) I made changes. YES. Many. BUT it was because I knew my words needed something and all the wonderful commenters gave me that something. I only changed what I knew needed to be. Because I wanted to, not just because somebody told me to.
Find yourself mutliple critique partners. I am a firm believer that this is hugely important and will benefit your writing.
Share your favorite lesson you've learned since beginning on your journey as a writer. I'd love to hear it!