Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Most Important Advice For An Aspiring Writer

A little while back, before I had published anything, I was interviewed by the high school daughter of a friend of mine from work.  One of the questions stuck out in my mind and, to my surprise, I was asked the same question shortly after my first book became available by a man who also has a relative that wants to become a writer.

The question is, "What is the most important thing an aspiring writer should do?"

My answer is this, "Write."  Pretty simple, huh?  No book was ever written by merely dreaming about it.  It takes putting your butt in your chair and your hands on the keyboard and start writing.  Write every day until the story is finished.  When that one is finished, start on the next story.  And so on and so on forever.

There will be hard days and easy days, days when you think your writing is utter garbage (and it very well might be) and days when you think your writing is utterly brilliant (and it might be sometimes).  But whatever you do, don't stop writing.

If you truly wish to be a writer, you have to love writing and telling stories.  Writing a 50,000 word novel (and that's a really short novel folks) will take dozens to hundreds of hours of your life and in the end, the only person that might care about your story is you.  Have passion for the act of creating because, if you don't, it will show in the work and you'll never reach the finish line.

The words and story don't have to be perfect in the first draft, that's why it's called a "draft".  Don't eternally rewrite chapters one and two to get the perfect story.  Move on to chapter three and beyond.  The eternal rewrite gets you really good at crafting an Act I.  But stories are also made of Acts II and III.  Finishing a work, even a lousy work, will help you strengthen your craft more than the perfect first act with nothing to follow.

There is a rule that for anyone to become an expert at anything it takes 10,000 hours, or in writing terms, about a million words.  Since the most important thing a writer can do is write, get writing those million practice words.  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up in November.  Those aspiring to try it out can join millions of other aspiring writers in crafting a novel.  I say go for it!  Go write!

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