Monday Notes: 5 Ways to Become a Writer

img_3443Sometimes I jot down a note and it’s very negative. When that happens, I re-focus and make it a positive post, like this one.

***

I’ve written since I was in elementary school, fifth grade to be exact. However, I didn’t consider myself a writer until six years ago. Once I accepted this part of my identity, I started observing and listening to writers and “aspiring” writers. I’ve determined if you want to be a writer, then this is what you’ll have to do:

Start Writing Now that my writing is public knowledge, people confide in me. Cousins, the man at the Florida Writers Association conference, and the woman who asked me to ghostwrite her novel each want to write. But when I ask them what they’ve written so far, the answer is nothing. I advise each of them the same. Start writing. Whether it’s a public blog or a private diary, the first step is to begin.

Make Time to Write I often thought my job was getting in the way of writing. That wasn’t the truth. And because no one was going to offer me more time in the day, I had to shift my priorities. Instead of watching the Today Show every morning, I wrote for two hours. Then, I began my regular day. Where could you shift your priorities so that you can make time to write?

Take Time to Edit After you’ve written something, consider that your first draft. All writers have first drafts, and second, and thirds, and…you get the picture. As a former English teacher, rarely have I seen a masterpiece written in one fell swoop. When you take time to write, that means you might find yourself pondering over the use of the word stroll, saunter, or walk because you know each one of those words will change the connotation and flow of your sentence. So take the time to think about the words you’ve written in a meaningful way.

You Think Your Stories Have Already Been Heard Probably. I mean an infinite number of books have been written and read. But not yours and not the way you can write it. Comments about The Unhappy Wife have validated this concept. Recently, Story Teller Alley approved me to sell my book on their site. One of the reasons it was accepted is because of originality. A reviewer said,

Although stories of unhappy marriages have been told before, because these are all true stories and each person is different, the stories are all different.”

I’m glad the innovation shone through. Sometimes people read the title and assume they know what’s inside. But it’s a false assumption. Likewise, if I would’ve thought these were trite narratives, then I might not have written the book. So my advice? Don’t worry about it. Somebody wants to read it the way you’ve written it.

You’re Worried about What Other People Think If you follow my blog, then you know I write about many things that have happened in my life. Stories include family, friends, and people I barely know. I couldn’t write half of what you read here if I stopped to worry about someone’s hurt feelings and reinvention of history. Initially, an Anne Lamott quote helped me forge ahead with authentic writing, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” That quote changed my entire creative nonfiction writing life. The other part that has helped me write the truth is to separate fact from emotion. For example, it’s a fact that my dad packed up my belongings in the middle of the night while I slept. Consequently, I felt abandoned and pushed aside because of what occurred. Stick to the facts and make clear when you’re describing an emotion.

I hope one of these sparks the writer in you. Trust me. Someone, somewhere is waiting to hear your voice, even if the someone is you.

218 thoughts on “Monday Notes: 5 Ways to Become a Writer

  1. Thank you Kathy for visiting my posts.
    At a time of being stuck your like on a recent post of mine ‘A happy talent to know how to play’ sparked a revisit of the post and of draft posts. I have deleted some drafts which has been a cathartic process and when visiting my posts I have decided to reblog March 2019 ‘Park visit’ as a starting point to further draft revisits.
    Thank you for allowing me that reflection.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading your 5 thoughts on how to become a better writer, not so much for the advice more to compare my own blogging experience with, and the line ‘If people wanted to write warmly of them, they should have behaved better’ I guess is true, however I’m wary of writing about people I know……… probably because a lady I actually knew in real life tracked me down and threatened to cut my balls off if I didn’t delete the (earlier) blog………… but yes I know, your tips aren’t necessarily suggestions for bloggers.

    To begin with, ‘start writing’ is great advise and I agree ‘whether it’s a public blog or a private diary, the first step is to begin’, how someone can ask you to ghost write when they haven’t written a line is totally bizarre? Before starting my previous Blog I hadn’t written since secondary school, and after starting again I’m a firm believer EVERYONE has a blog in them with one caveat, how popular you become is in the lap of the Gods. I’d suggest for every LA there’ll be many many writers left disappointed 😦 , and here’s my own piece of advice, NEVER write if all you wish is to be popular and successful……….. I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. But on the bright side, write regularly and you will find an audience.

    As for editing? I read through once after downloading the conversation from my imagination, my blog’s raw and honest, but if you’re a serious writer then I guess you have to edit? As for me, once I began editing all rhythm was lost and just left with very painful stilted reading (and your limitations). I guess the upside of downloading the conversation in your mind, there’s no bs, the reader gets a sense of your real personality warts and all………………….. in 4 years have I ever upset anyone with something I’ve written? Yes but myself and the blogger parted on happy terms and I kept my word when I said I’d delete the photos she sent me 😀 !

    Good posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, this is the most I’ve heard from you, I think! I’ll try to respond:

      Well, yes…the tips are for bloggers, too. I pretty much write about whatever/whoever I want, but my blog is based on truth and real situations (with real people). So far, no one’s threatened to cut my balls off, but there’s still time 😉 lol

      I COMPLETELY agree about not writing to be famous/successful. If you want to write, you’d better do it because you like it…blogging or otherwise.

      And yes…people are nutz. Someone wanted me to help them edit a book they’d completely handwritten. We live in two different states :-/

      I think, in general, you should maybe make sure you’ve used the correct “their” or “too,” know what I mean? But everything else is up to you and not to be professionally edited, just readable.

      Thanks again for this response…and yes, I’ve noticed you like the mature ladies 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!.. whenever I decide to write something, whatever it might be, I simply sit down and let my fingers do the walking (typing/writing) and my heart do the talking!.. 🙂

    Hope all is well in your world and all your tomorrows are filled with love and happiness!!.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really needed this reminder that I must make time to write. I used to do that. I have let my job and family responsibilities overtake my life. I think I will start by being consistent with blog posts. I have so many novels started, some as many as 20,000 words, just sitting in my google drive waiting for attention. Thank you for the reminder that it’s up to me to make the time. I also love that quote by Ann Lamont. I used to take such care to post positive things on my blog. I just want to be real now, whatever that looks like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Great reminder. 2 hours of writing time before you start the day is oh-so-good. Just the thought of it makes me want to tackle the Miracle Morning again. And that quote? I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “‘If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.’That quote changed my entire creative nonfiction writing life.”

    That right there!!!! YAAASSS!

    I think that this is where you get that straight up honesty that you give the people honey! LOL!!!
    I remember you saying that you tell everything….I laughed my arse off! No regrets!

    Again, that’s one of the things that I admire most about you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl. You know I was raised in the era of “don’t tell nobody what’s going on in this house” and “children should be seen and not heard.” INSERT BIG OLE EYE ROLL lol

      I couldn’t wait to get grown. LOL Thanks for the love Lady G ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent advice! And I’m guessing that some aspiring writer just read exactly what they needed to in order to find the courage to begin writing. I think one of the nicest, and most important, things a writer can do is encourage others to write. Every single one of us has a unique and important voice, which means that we should not be afraid to tell our stories, fiction or nonfiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really great tips and post.
    Writers write sounds so basic but true!
    I love when you said it gets in the way of your “real” job or that’s how I phrase it anyway. My family rolls their eyes while I tap away… and my sweet godson said “you are a writer, you write when I said but I’m not a writer. God, I love that boy. Glad you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such great advice, Kathy! Especially the focus on not worrying about what others think. This is something I grappled with maybe 2-3 years ago, then I finally let it all go and began writing a bit more freely. I’d always been vulnerable, but there were parts of myself I’d kept secretive because I was so concerned about “broken hearts” and “hurt feelings.” We’re writers, we’re supposed to write, regardless of how “heavy” the content is. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks trE! You know I was recently reminded of this part, in particular. recently. People really have to get over themselves and how they’re perceived in writing. We can’t have always liked/loved what went on in our lives, and sometimes that involved other people (who a lot of times either have a different version of the story or don’t remember it at all LOL). So, I say…we should always remember to write what we want!, even if it’s never published.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There are so nice and helpful people , they criticize in a helpful way. I think the best way to write is not giving up. Some people writing negative thoughts are poor because often they lost their wishes. So, I give them friendly thoughts finding back their own dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I´m happy to say – thank you for following my blog.
        Be wellcome 🙂

        Let me say, our small conversation inspired me to a new article. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, you know what I’m going through – Take Time to Edit!

    “When you take time to write, that means you might find yourself pondering over the use of the word…”

    And now I spend days pondering about whether to put the comma or not. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love this post. When I first started my blog in 2013, I said it was because I had so much to say and felt safer talking to strangers than to people I knew. I still believe this. I have doubted myself throughout my blogging journey and I have to remind myself why I started in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I have often thought that one of the hardest parts about being a writer is actually writing something. And the other hard thing is beginning to think of ourselves as writers. I remember the first time I claimed that title, and it was liberating!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. These are such good pointers, and you’re right with just write. It sounds so simple, yet it can be painfully hard. I found that with my blog. I’ve found that with getting back into creative writing, which slipped away a few years ago with other things going on and I’ve not been able to pick it up since. I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was in high school; never written a jot towards it. I get stumped with the premise and can’t get past that. And you’re right, so much has been done before but it’s reinventing it, with your own passion and thoughts and experience, to put an individual spin on it that will make it stand out from the crowd. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome Caz! Writing can be the hardest part about being a writer, but you gotta find a way if you really want to do it, or at least that’s what I’ve come to understand. Even if you’re the only one who ever sees it…write.

      Like

  15. So many people ask me how to start a blog and my first answer is always “just sign up for a free blog and start writing.” My first blog was totally anonymous and I just wrote whatever and didn’t care about page views or sponsored posts. It paved the way for the more focused blog style I have now. But the first step is just to write it type something out and get the ball rolling. You can always edit later 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Perfect advise! I love what you said about shifting priorities in one’s day. I watch an awful lot of television. Between Netflix and OnDemand, there is always something to watch. My spirit is moving me to do a serious fast from this habit. I often tell myself, while, watching a program, “You’re putting your own creation off to watch someone else’s. It took me four or more years to write both of my novels due to not prioritizing writing everyday or sticking to a writing schedule. This will not be the case with the one I’m working on now. Thank you for the encouraging post.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Great post! I think writing is a job, like any other job, and a responsibility one takes upon oneself, and like any job and any responsibility, it requires a structured, concerted effort and a set schedule, inspiration or not.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. True for me as well, but I also don’t buy into writer block excuses. Anyone who claims it should go work as a reporter on a deadline or undertake to write grants on a deadline. When you don’t write, you don’t eat, blocks notwithstanding.

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Awesome post! May I add on more point? I find it helpful for me to be inspired to write if I pick a niche and stick to it. It helps me focus and motivate me to write more. But then, I know different writers inspired differently. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I enjoy reading your blog Post. But this one is spot on. I have been trying to write but every time I come up with excuses. I think what I have in my mind is what you explained in the post too. It was an interesting post and honestly much needed Eye opener for me.
    Thank you.
    Hey take a look at my blog too.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I love this post and I just love writing! I personally think it’s magical. We can create entire landscapes with a few sentences, new galaxies and beyond. It’s like flying to me. I wrote a post about conquering writers block recently, so if any writers are stuck, come check it out.

    Liked by 3 people

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