Whether you step away from writing for moments or years, it can be a challenge to get your head back in the game.
It has been said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and that’s no less true in writing. And imitation is a great way to learn to write better.
Most writers work at something besides writing. It might be work we do around our home, apartment or dorm, such as cleaning, organizing or cooking. Or it could be a paid job, such as dog-walking, healthcare or customer service. No matter what work we do, there are advantages to being employed in other vocations, and it’s possible to stay inspired at the same time.
Last month we considered the importance of writing well. This month we’ll look at how to write well for publication, which also means figuring out where to send your work and preparing it for market.
Whether you’re passionate about writing or dabble, at some point you’ll likely want to improve. For beginning and experienced writers, learning can be a joy, but without reading, editing and feedback, it’s not likely our work will advance.
The art has become a commodity; why is your voice any better (or different) than that writer’s? How do you get heard amid the roar? How do you keep your spirits up when everything tells you it doesn’t really matter if you keep on or quit writing?
Poetry filled the pages as if it was my first tongue or a primitive utterance that just came out when my censors were “off.” The early me was quantity over quality and that mountain of poems was angsty and terrible, of course. But you could say the form “grew” up with me, and poetry was ever present. Like a shadow. Training wheels. A body cast. The cocoon from which I would eventually emerge.
At times I do lose faith in writing, but it is more driven by negative inputs from people around. These inputs maybe like: What do you earn out of writing? Is it your bread and butter? You are rejected by so many publishers (despite not asking about any payment), so what’s the fun in doing something where you only get rejections? Can you earn a living out of writing? Who will take care of family and daily life needs?
I’d always dreamt of writing a novel, and an idea had been floating in my head. The story consumed me with an inexplicable force, and the class’s themes compelled me to write the words down. That night after class, I sat down and I started writing, never thinking anyone would ever read the words. Each night when I came back to my story, I chided myself for wasting my precious time. At the end of summer, I shoved the faded green notebook underneath my bed to collect dust. I abandoned the dream, but the story never quite abandoned me. I came back to it the next summer and the next until finally I had a complete manuscript.
I have had a couple of conversations with writers lately where they have asked me how I have been fortunate enough to have published a book when I am only twenty-eight years old.