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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.