Really, There Are No Secrets

I’m going to tell you something personal.

In the past 22 months, I’ve lost 50 pounds. People have noticed, and it’s a good feeling. Often someone blurts out, “What did you do?”

I listened to my doctor’s advice, and decided I was going to do what was necessary. I researched nutrition, learned to cut hidden sugars and fats, and I exercised. Then, I told a few people so they could keep me accountable. That isn’t what some people wanted to hear. They wanted to know the secret method I used. There wasn’t one. I kept at it and, over time, I saw results.

People will ask the same questions about writing. They want to know what the clever wording was that sold the devotion, or what the magic phrase was that got my foot in the door. There are none. I kept at it and, over time, I saw results. Does that sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong; I have a story, which is largely still being written. I enjoy talking with people and trying to help. But sometimes people ask a question and you can see that glint in their eye. You know they only have a moment. They want that nugget, so they can run off and become rich and famous. Let me say it one more time (speech writers tell me saying things three times is good): there are no big secrets that everyone is holding back from you. There are basics. There are good practices and techniques you can learn. They take time, effort, and persistence.

Listen:

Just like me and my doctor, you have to listen to those who know more than you do. Writers are largely a giving bunch. Though it creates competition, they’re usually willing to help others that are passionate to learn. Don’t forget to thank anyone who is gracious with their time since they could just as well shut the door, do a lot more writing, and make more money.

Write:

If you want to tone muscle you can’t sit with a cup of tea and crumpets, watch exercise videos and pretend you’re being productive. You get up and do it. Write every time you can. Write on anything. Use grocery receipts, notebooks, or electronic devices to record ideas and items of interest. Write everywhere. Write at school; write when you’re waiting in line or on the way to work. Note: That last one should only be attempted if someone else is driving or you’re riding public transportation. The best way to learn writing is by trying your hand at it. Build that writing muscle. writing fixed books

Research:

Researching about pre-diabetes convinced me to change. Understanding about the world around you will make you a better writer as well as giving you plenty to write about. Study widely. Read magazines, books, and newspapers. Learn the different types of wording and formats that are used. There are hundreds of different types of things that are written every day and each has its own style. Even in article writing many different article styles exist.

Read:

Have a willingness to read books on the writing craft. Study those who are successful and learn what they have done. You can borrow books, but buy the ones you would read again to keep as references. You’ll begin to build your own library and you’ll be supporting other writers who have taken the time to share their craft with you.

When reading others, don’t copy their style, but learn from their expertise. Don’t get too caught up in studying though; remember to write. It’s the fastest way to learn the rhythm of words, to learn sentence cadence, and to learn to make the music your readers are looking for. That’s why it’s higher on the list.

Submit:

This sounds silly, but I did say I was going over basics. I know at least a few people out there don’t realize that their writing will not get published sitting in a desk drawer or on a computer. No editors are knocking down doors to see if there might be a writer inside who is working on a manuscript. You have to submit your work far and wide, which leads into the next point.

Tell People:Writing-Secrets-hands

If people don’t know you’re a writer, they can’t support you, pray for you, or let you know when they hear of a writing opportunity. Writing can seem solitary, but you also need others as sounding boards, for encouragement, and to help us edit and improve. Choose your groups carefully and find people who want to support you, but find some. Tell them your goals, your thoughts, and even your dreams, and then support each other.

Submit:

I know I said this one already, but it’s so important. When it came to the physical exercise, I couldn’t rely on what I had already done. That would do me no good the following day. I had to keep at it. I still do. With writing, I also have to keep at it and not rest on what I’ve already done.Writing-Secrets-quote

Keep sending your work out into the world. Even if you write articles, pamphlets, or business plans, you have to let people know you are looking for work and that you are ready to meet their needs.

Help others:

Be willing to give back. If you’ve had some success, pass it on. Be the giving sort I mentioned above. That is part of the purpose for this blog. Giving will make all of your endeavors easier. It will accelerate your growth, increase your contacts, and help you stay motivated. Being generous will also feed your spirit so that you will want to keep writing.

Since you’ve read this far, I will tell you that there is one little secret. All editors like Jelly Belly’s and Twizzlers. If you send a package of each along with your manuscript, it’s sure to get reviewed. And don’t forget to send some soda pop to the marketing department as well.

PS. If you are now looking for these items in bulk on Amazon, I was kidding!

Your turn; leave your thoughts and experiences below. I’d love to hear from you. If this was of value to you, and you want to help me tell people – far and wide – that I write, please share this with your friends. Until next time, write on.

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23 comments on “Really, There Are No Secrets
  1. The weight and nutrition weren’t your main point and sorry if you saw this already:

    myholistictable.wordpress.com

    I haven’t been able to work on it much and need to update the header shot, too. But you might chk out the How To Eat page if you haven’t seen it, P.

  2. noirfifre says:

    Oh I saw the word ‘Twizzlers’ and my heart softly dropped :D.

  3. susieklein says:

    Hi Peter, thank you so much for the encouraging comment on my blog this morning! It means a lot to me and it led me to this wonderful post! These words are so helpful and affirming. Thank you!
    Susie

  4. Peter, thanks for picking up the error on my blog where I placed a Bradbury quote under Danielle Steele. Copy and paste mishap – I appreciated your comment and have fixed the issue. Best wishes!

  5. You always encourage me to write, express, and create. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration.

  6. Julie Luek says:

    Peter this is a great post with all kinds of good advice and nuggets of thought. Yes listening– to other writers, to our bodies, to our hearts– so vital. Being willing to sacrifice and prioritize and all the other good stuff.

    Losing weight and writing– two things I definitely can relate to.

  7. I love the way you melded the personal experience with the writer’s life and challenges. Well done and congratulations 🙂 There is so much in this post I could comment on but will hit just a couple of points – no quick fixes and no magic – just hard work and keeping at it. These are key. Thanks so much for an excellent message, Peter.

    • Thank you, Francis for the congratulations, and for letting me know how much you enjoyed the post. I appreciate the feedback on both. This took some time to write, and I was a bit apprehensive so it is good to know it’s encouraging.

  8. Erica says:

    I think the biggest obstacle to taking others’ advice is the thought, “Yeah that worked for you, but how does that apply to me?” There’s an internal resistance that’s both subtle and effective. Once you learn how to push that to the side (it’ll never go away entirely, I don’t think), then doors will open up.

    • I understand what you mean, but most of the leaders you find to “look up” to are also great followers, willing to learn from anyone. The other difficult thing is stocking up on the Twizzlers and Jelly Bellys. 😉

  9. Congratulations on the weight loss! That is fantastic, and it’s not easy.

    I’ve found that aircraft welding is one of those things that people think of as having a secret formula, or an art that can be practiced only by virtue of some annointing.

    It isn’t While it’s a lot more delicate than welding on horse trailers (the material is commonly less than 1/16″ thick) it just takes practice and care. Oh, and no gloves…burned fingers are a fashion statement.

    But all the same, sometimes I catch myself thinking, I can’t really be doing this. This is for experts. (This, after 20 years’ experience.)

    • Andrew, I appreciate the congratulations. Isn’t it funny that it is easier to “listen” to the “I can’t be doing this” than it is to realize I am doing this? Congratulations on 20 years of experience.

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"A writer looks at a screen or piece of paper like a canvas. They see a country unexplored, a picture unpainted, a tale not told. They dare to venture into the barren land, explore its dark corners, and paint its pictures. Then they unveil the epic with the goal of compelling people to visit their newly discovered territory.”
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