Has the desire to get serious about your writing bubbled to the surface like an underground spring? Or has it grabbed a hold of you, sunk its teeth in, and threatened to never let go? When the dormant writer within me finally woke from years of slumber and demanded to be fed, I found I was unable to ignore its cries. Like a mother with a hungry child, I searched for ways to appease its appetite. The following discoveries enabled me to develop my skills and strengthen my core and belief in myself as a writer.
WRITE To be a writer you must write. The more you write the more your writing will improve. This is how you discern your writing voice, your style, the span of your imagination, your weaknesses and your strengths. At first you may need to organise a set time and place to kick start a regular habit. Some write a little each day, some less often. Whatever works best for you, make sure it becomes routine.
READ Read books of all genres and styles; read them with writer’s eyes: What grabbed your attention? Where were the hooks? What did you enjoy? Were you satisfied with the characters’ portrayal, story arcs, the ending? What worked - what didn’t?
Read books on writing. Learn from those who have gone before. Walk in their footsteps. Sit at their feet and receive the knowledge imparted to you.
ATTEND A writer’s group. If there isn’t one available in your area, start one - even if it is online. This is the best place to share your work, discuss the craft, learn from and encourage one another - we all need support. Having tasks to complete urges you to write to a deadline, creates accountability, and boosts the habit of writing regularly. Having your work critiqued in a safe, trusting environment is a very helpful experience.
Writers’ conventions, workshops, retreats, author talks etc. There’s nothing like rubbing shoulders with other writers - novice and established - and anyone else in the writing field. You will be motivated, enthused and equipped with information and ideas to help further your ability.
FOLLOW and LEARN Follow as many published authors as you can. Follow editors, publishing houses, bookstores etc Listen to podcasts on writing. Take a writing course - plenty available online, including short courses done at your own pace. Enter competitions. As well as experience, these help to gauge what other people think of your work. Never cease being teachable
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF Self-doubt is common amongst creatives, so don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t entertain negativity-surround yourself with positive influences. Accept compliments. Respect your talent. Celebrate every goal achieved. Dream big and share willingly!
Creativity is a gift. Unwrap it. Celebrate it. Share it!