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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Writer's Mind: So You Want to Write

One question frequently comes up in interviews.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

I always say the same thing. It's two-fold.

Read, read, read.

And--you guessed it--

Write, write, write.

I confess I go a little overboard with reading. I carry at least one book in my purse at all times--two, if I'm nearing the end of the book. If I find myself out without a book--gasp!--I buy one. It doesn't matter that I have 20 unread books at home. I have to read.

But if you want to write, you must first be a reader. Read specifically in the genre that interests you (magazines? memoirs? horror? chik lit?). Read widely. Read bestsellers (what makes them so appealling?), new authors, and old favorites. Read classics. Read anything--but read.

Writing is equally important. Vickie Baker, my earliest writing partner, said that she told people she was going to write for six months before she ever put words on paper. The practice of writing consistently--even if only for five minutes a day--will improve your skills more than five hours altogether once every few weeks. The more we write, the more we grow in what we want to say and how to say it.

That's my challenge for this week. Read and write.


Tami said...

Do blogs count? ;>) I think I have the reading thing down. I love to read...its the writing where I'm stumped. Can't seem to find a word to put on paper - except when it comes to my blog and freelance magazine articles. But what I really want to do is write fiction. I have a feeling my biggest problem is still fear of failure. I'm keeping the dream alive by failing to do anything to make it a reality.
It's time to stop. I'll take the challenge.

Darlene Franklin said...

Tami, writing blogs and magazine articles absolutely count. Any writing counts. And it wouldn't hurt to push yourself to write a little on your fiction every day. Even a hundred words is better than nothing.