Such a corny beginning, isn’t it?
But beginning any project is the hardest part. Cleaning your house, going on a trip, even getting out of bed on a rainy day all takes effort. It is easy to let it slide, wait for some one else to pick up the slack. Riding on some one’s coat tails is a smoother path. But a much less fulfilling one.
So how does one become a Writer? Technically, I learned to write my ABC’s before Kindergarten. I started writing stories when I was eleven. But I was not a Writer.
See that first letter there? The big W? That makes the difference. Writer (with a capital W) signifies to the world that you are serious about your craft. The lower case version applies to casual letters, the odd recipe, maybe even a birthday card or two. But to make the leap, the first step, towards claiming that ‘W’ is hard.
Do I have the time? Am I talented enough? How can I take time away from my kids or my job for just writing? What if I get laughed at? What if I get rejected?
Those are questions that form in any Writer’s mind. Daily, in my case. But you have to step beyond those fears and …well, step. Step into the unknown.
Mentally, that step is nerve racking. It ranks right up there with accepting a marriage proposal. It is a life long commitment. Once you have that ‘W’, there is no turning back. You are headed down a path that has no U turns. Even if you only write one story, you ARE a Writer.
Okay, you made that step. Whew! Good job. Now what?
Sounds simple but there is nothing more frightening than a blank page. You have ideas and words and characters living in your head. Getting them out is hard work. It takes dedication and drive. And lots of caffeine.
So you write. And you write some more. You feel pretty good at times, crappy some other times. But you plug on through and BAM! Story done.
Now you find a willing reader. First, pick some one who loves you. Let them shower you with praise. Float on a wave of pure bliss.
Then find a critique group. A real one. Not your mother’s bridge club. Other Writers. And let them tear your baby apart. You will cry, get mad and feel like a failure. Congratulations, you are almost there! Take what they say and learn from it. Digest it, mull it over, and be honest with yourself. Nine times out of ten, they are right. It is just hard to hear.
Write some more! Reshape your original idea, implement what you learned, adapt your thought process. And start over. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
Each time your work grows. You become stronger, faster, better. Bionic. (Just kidding, kinda). Then one day, a newbie will come in and post something for critiquing. And you will see mistakes that YOU NO LONGER MAKE! You have a opinion and it is good. You are a Writer.
Now, you are ready to move on.
The next step? Who knows. It depends on you. Will you submit to a publishing house? To an agent? Will you self publish? The door is wide open. And that journey begins with one little step.