I have an issue. I tend to believe all writers feel the same way about writing as I do. I love writing. It trumps just about everything else in my life, with only family beating it out, and let me tell you writing is a very close second. I'm fortunate enough that my family has always understood my head remains in a different place. They know that I am perpetually by the edge of reality, my arms outstretched and my chest open, the words and stories inside spilling out into the world. Problem is, I think everyone should be that way.
But then I think, am I really as serious as I think I am?
True, I love writing. I am passionate about words and how to use them to build something; a character, a scenario, a world. But I don't write every day. I haven't written more than 550 words to my latest novel in over a month! I've written a short story in that time, and I pull out my “scratching post” story almost daily just to keep my skills sharp, but as far as a serious writing stint... well, I have been lacking.
Does that make me less serious about writing? Some writers would say yes. You've read their interviews or “how to write” books, I'm sure. Write every day. Treat it like a job. Read, read, read.
So what is serious when it comes to writing? And how do you get serious?
Serious, to me, is having a plan or goal and working to bring said goal to fruition. My plan has changed recently. No longer do I aspire to be signed by a big house and become an internationally best selling author. I mean, if it happens I won't be upset, but chances are that's just not in the cards for me. So my vision of where I will go morphs into something a bit more attainable, something I can reach and be okay with. I work to improve my writing, I learn from other writers, and (most importantly) I write. Now, am I likely to reach my new destination if I keep ignoring my WIP? No. But that's a different blog post. Perhaps we'll call that one “Fear of Success”.
The above tips from published authors are certainly worth paying attention to, but I think they should be tweaked a bit. Just like exercise, you can mold these suggestions to fit your life. All it takes is commitment. That, and drive. Are you ready to roll?
Writers have been deemed solitary for so long we have begun to believe it. Sure we write alone, but we won't get anywhere we want to be on our own. We need community. My 5 tips may not work for every writer, or any writer, but these are my stepping stones, my plot points on the way to the writing life I want to live.
Do you have suggestions for getting serious about writing? I'd love to hear them!
- Sayword B. Eller, President
Next month: Wading through the “how to”