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Sunday, February 17, 2013

What's slowing down your writing career?

Right now it's my chihuahua, Meiko, demanding his twenty-minute double handed massage.

Here we are on one of his adventures as Inspector Meiko Luv.

When I became interested in writing, I read a book, Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir by Mary Higgins Clark. Basically she stated her writing needed a proper education and experience. So for the past six years I've been gaining an education, not all formal, and looking back at my life's experiences and gaining more. As you read my previous posts you can see that I've managed to publish a few stories and articles. Am I done learning? Not yet. I'm about half-way through my writing course with Long Ridge Writers Group and intend to continue some sort of formal writing until I feel comfortable. Which, as you may find in the website, Make a Living Writing, this may not ever come to fruition.

As recommended, I'm reading a couple of elemental books that remind me of elementary and high school. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White and Essentials of English: A practical handbook covering all the rules of English grammar by Vincent F. Hopper, Cedric Gale, Ronald C. Foote and revised by Benjamin W. Griffith.

I'm also looking through blogs and reading other author's experiences. Hopefully, the same as you are doing now. I've come across a website that intrigues me. Make a Living Writing. Together we can glean important hints and writing necessities to further our writing careers.

I think it's time for a challenge. I've read the book, Let's Write a Short Story! by Joe Bunting. I'm ready to take his challenge. Are you? The first thing we need to do is choose the story and/or title. I'm writing down ideas, creating the character(s) and direction I'd like the story to take. Of course, it'll, in the end, be the responsibility of the character(s) to tell me the direction, but if I have an idea the character(s) will follow or push hard for their story to be told correctly. So, in a week, I'll post the story information as I see it and hopefully you will too, either on this site or on your own, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we're going to write a short story. We'll continue to update progress reports weekly until the story is published.

Recap. Live slows down your career. Most often we write at home and forget to schedule writing time. Yes, you can write at home, but you mustn't allow home-life to get in the way. Have a place that is exclusively for writing and a time or amount of words you want to write per day. Start small and work up to your desired amount. If it seems too much, be willing to adjust it or allow more time for writing. If you want to make enough money to not have to work outside the home, then your home office needs to have regular hours for writing. If your schedule doesn't permit, make sure you're finding the time to write the amount of words you want per day, but don't bite too deep into your sleeping time. Your writing will suffer. Consider part-time at first if you find other things getting in the way. Be careful not to over schedule your self with outside activities. Remember, your writing is priority after your spouse and family.

Education. Few are born able to write perfectly. You need to know the basics and then gain experience. Read, read and read some more. This will help your writing style. Follow other authors at their websites, blogs, Facebook and other sites. Glean from them writing essentials so that your writing improves. Take an online or local course. Many local writing groups offer courses as well. Never stop learning. I strengthen my understanding of subjects I'm writing about by reading books, short stories, webpages and blogs.

Fear of rejection. In a previous blog post, May 2012, I wrote about using contests to increase ones chances of getting out of the slush pile. Submissions, even when the answer is 'not interested, get's you toward your 'I'd like to publish this story.' Authors must submit and get the nos to earn the yes'. So submit and don't forget the value of contests. And if they offer critiques, pay the extra to learn what they think of your piece and learn from the experts.

Write, read, revise and submit. It's important. Take the challenge and write a short story with me.

Happy reading, writing, revising, submitting and waiting.

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