I’m not a published author…yet.
I’m doing everything in my power to change that situation. I’ve belonged to writer’s groups to network and hang out with fellow writers – it’s good to know others who share my affliction. I belong to National organizations. I do the Facebook thing, love the Facebook thing. Groups are good. Networking is good.
I read all the how-to-write books I can get my hands on: how to write fiction, how to write description, how to sell your book, how to write winning query letters, how to find an agent, how to…how to…how to. These – I’m thinking – may not be so good. Sure, they give you information and if you’re a reasonably intelligent individual you find a way to weed through that information-overload for stuff you can actually use. Keep in mind that there are a LOT of so-called experts out there eager to tell you the right way to do everything imaginable. Maybe it worked for them. Might not work for you.
I’ve decided to try a different tactic. I just need to write! I need to park my butt in my chair and write….gosh darn it! I am a high stress person and don’t deal well with aggravation and missed goals. I’ve spent a lot of time lately reading all those how-to books, meanwhile stalling in my actual writing. I tell myself, “I’ll just finish reading this book, it will help me be a better writer…” but you know what? I’m still not published!
You know what else? I have fried a few valuable brain cells – brain cells I can’t afford to be without – just trying to do everything the how-to experts have been telling me to do!
One book tells me I need to show not tell, use more similes and metaphors to get your descriptions across. Another book tells me to NEVER use similes or metaphors…it is forbidden.
One source tells me I need to go completely dialogue…the wave of the future! You can get all the description you need in good, fast, smooth dialogue. While another source tells me to keep the dialogue at a minimum. Tighten it up.
Then there’s that “hook” you hear so much about. Gotta have it. But there are rules there, too. Always get goal-conflict-and-motivation in that first paragraph. Always introduce Hero AND Heroine in that first scene. Never start a book with a dead body in the first sentence…never start with a mundane scene of the main character waking up in the morning…never start with dialogue…always start with dialogue…never, always, never, always! SHEESH!
To throw further confusion into the mix, I read. I have many favorite authors - some older, some newer – and when I see the “never’s” in their storywriting it nearly sends me over the edge! What is an aspiring writer supposed to believe?
Now my favorite authors are writing how-to-write books of their own! Just about every successful, high paid, bestselling author has one on the shelves.
Have I included enough exclamation points in this blog to express just how stressed I’ve become at the abundance of ”expert” information out there!!!
What is a wanna-be-published writer to do?
My answer? First, read…a lot. Not just the how-to books. Read stories you really enjoy reading. Do they read anything like how you want to write? How old are they? Have they been published recently? That will tell you what is acceptable in the publishing business right now, not what things were like thirty years ago. Times change, keep up with those changes.
Second, write…a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a story you want to get published. Just write. It could be blogs, letters, articles, journaling, or short stories you write for your kids. Maybe just long emails during the day to family and friends. Just write.
Third, remember that what works for some people doesn’t work for others.
I’m not trying to sound like an expert on the subject. I’m not. I just know what I need to do, maybe it will work for other people who are trying to be better writers and get published.
Now, I need to get back to a book I’ve been reading…”How to Stop Reading How-to Books and Start Writing” by Dr. I. Noe Itall.