Thursday, January 7, 2010
Seven Things I've Learned So Far
I like reading articles by Chuck Sambuchino through Feedblitz. I especially like his "Seven Things I've Learned" contributed by up and coming writers. For my small reading audience, I'll give my list.
1. Writing is a hard job. It is not for the faint of heart and it takes time to learn the craft and find your voice. I've been learning and writing for fifteen years and I'm still not book published. I may never, but if I quit, I'll never know.
2. At the beginning, I tried writing picture books. I learned real fast that it was not for me. Not yet, anyway. I found my niche in middle grade and young adult nonfiction. By the time I had a good working relationship with my editor, I thought I'd try short stories and he snatched them up. I got paid better for them than for the nonfiction. So, it's important to learn where your strong writing lies and write it, at least to start.
3. Keep learning the craft. Even the well-read published book authors still train. It's not a one time endeavour. Teachers have to take classes to keep teaching, and so do police officers have to continue training to stay in their profession. I just bought a winter's worth of reading on the craft and business side of writing, so I can continue my education. I also go to workshops and conferences as often as I can. Last May's SCBWI Oregon conference led to a publisher's interest in CLAIRELEE A.D. (AFTER DISASTER). And I've done what the publisher asked and am waiting to hear back.
4. Take time to live life. This has not been a hard one for me, because life just happens. I don't have a problem immersing myself in my work for days on end, neglecting my family and chores. I have to make a point to write. I scrape for my hours-at-a-time to write and when I do this, I am overjoyed.
5. People watch and listen. Going into town and shopping becomes a training ground. I become in tuned to the way people carry themselves. I read their faces to see what's there. Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they serious? I pay attention as to what that looks like and how I might show that in my writing. I was surprised at how angry people could actually teach me a thing or two about my characters.
6. Read, read, and read some more. Any writer knows that reading what you write is necessary and fun. And as a children's writer, I have to read the age group stories that I am writing. It can be the reward for a long day of work at writing or any other chore. And I always read more in winter than any other time of year.
7. Never, ever give up. This can't be stated enough. In this world of fast and easy gratification, writing is not one of those things. I have to love the process and words and story, even if I never become book published.
Until next time . . .