Sure they look innocent and unobtrusive. Writing: just a genteel past time. Creative people sitting in grand rooms with wood paneling and a roaring fire in the fireplace pondering life as they tear painfully crafted works of art out of the nothingness.
But how to actually do it is a battle not to be faced by the weak of heart. (And yeah, stop laughing, I don't know any author who would fit the above scenario either. ;)) Everywhere you turn there is someone telling you how to write. You MUST write everyday (good idea in my opinion, something I strive for and miss many times). You MUST plot out your book (nope, failing that one completely). You MUST do years of research and/or world-building before you jump in (again, I personally am an epic fail on that one.).The list goes on and on.
The fact is that writing is different for each writer--and for many folks, different for each book. No one should ever tell anyone else what they MUST do to become a writer. Including me, if having a list of "must-do's" works for you--go for it :).
But I did title this post How to Write, didn't I? First, some credentials. I've been writing A LONG TIME. At the time I published The Glass Gargoyle, I had four other completed books (other series) and three non-finished (also different series) books. For me I needed to take time to create the worlds I needed to create. So I did ;). The Lost Ancients Series is up and running and next year will see book three and four of that series, as well as the launch of the space opera- The Warrior Wench. I've also been published in really dull academic journals as a behavioral researcher.
What I'm getting at, is I have a lot of words under my belt, and I am still learning how to write. You never really stop learning, there are always new things to try.
But, if any of you are seriously trying to get started, here are some pointers (your mileage may vary, but here ya go ;)).
- Grab all the information you can find. Books, magazines, TED talks, videos, blogs, whatever- be voracious about it. You'll find many people contradict each other on what to do (that whole fighting words thing) but take it all in and find what works for you.
- Join other writers. See if there are local writing groups- RWA is awesome even if you don't write romance. See if there is a local chapter. See if your genre has any type of group that is there to help support the writing craft. As far as I know, fantasy/SF doesn't have such a thing. SFWA doesn't help new writers- BUT they do have a blog that's informative.
- Go to writing conferences! YES- they are expensive. YES- they can be scary. YES-you should go to them! Especially if you don't have access to a local writing group with speakers, you need to be around other folks who are as crazy as you (all writers are crazy, sorry to tell you).
- Go into it for the right reasons. Really, the only wrong reason would be fame and money--because it ain't gonna happen. Writing is a very difficult, painful, thing that will suck up tons of time. If you aren't doing it because you love it, STOP NOW.
- Don't stop. If you love it, don't give up. EVER.
Okay, that's what I've got right now. What are some of your favorite and least favorite words of writing advice?