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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Writing Advice

Last night, a friend of mine made me feel like a grown-up.

I hadn't seen him in a while, so there were of course pleasantries exchanged as well as the updates as to what we've been doing with ourselves.  He congratulated me on the book and asked me how it was doing, to which I honestly have no earthly idea.  He then told me his young daughter wants to be a writer, wants to pursue a career in writing, and what should he as a father tell her.

Now, I have no clue what qualifies me as someone to give advice on how to be a writer.  I have an unfinished degree in journalism, wrote one unsuccessful novel, and another one that may or may not do better.  My blog has a grand total of 6 followers (change that, please, and subscribe).  But he's a friend, and I tell him what I was told in high school.  "You want to be a writer?  Write.  Read.  And Write."

A day later, I had a little more time to think about it, and I want to give this addendum to that little nugget of advice.

Take writing classes.  Creative writing, journalism, English composition.  Any class that gives you a different experience and feel on the craft, do it.

Read.  A lot.  Read anything you can get your hands on, and finish it.  Even if it's terrible.  ESPECIALLY if it's terrible.

Keep a journal.  Not only does it give you great practice in organizing your thoughts, but it makes you used to writing every day, makes writing second nature.

This last bit is important as anything.  Read what you want to write, and write what you want to read.  Writing is one of those things that you should do because you love it. Not for the acclaim.  Especially not for money (spoiler alert: there isn't a lot for most of us at first).  Rejection is part of the game, no matter what you write.  Your work should make you happy before you parade it to the world.  If you write something you would read, your enthusiasm will carry you through. 

Writing has been an extremely rewarding thing for me.  It's gotten me through some tough times mentally and emotionally, it's chronicled my greatest moments and memories.  And if someone can benefit from that experience, then that's what I have to share.

But I'm the wrong guy to ask for advice.

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