Welcome to my stories. I just designed a t-shirt: “I’m a Raconteur learning to be a Writer so I might be an Author.”
In the Spring of 2010 my wife gave me a membership to the Houston Writer’s Guild and signed me up to attend their Spring conference.
I did not know how to write. I’m a math major. We don’t do papers. However, in one of my careers I researched new and interesting technologies for my company. I wrote white papers for mid and upper management who had little time to read. If you have any experience reading essays, a white paper is like an up-side-down essay. The conclusions, including possible impact to ROI (Return On Investment), are presented first. When I discovered that good stories must have a hook upfront, I was thrilled. I mistakenly thought, “Now I know how to write my novel.”
That moment is called an ‘up’. There are also many ‘downs’ that writers must endure.
This is my list of bottom line recommendations for new writers, of all kinds.
- Join a writer’s guild, association, club, or group.
- Attend their critique circles or start one.
A critique circle (cc) meets often enough for each of the 6 to 10 writers to bring sufficient copies of 200 lines of story content. The writer, or someone else in the circle, reads his or her work aloud. Notes are made on each copy and a brief discussion ensues. I’ll post the rules of engagement we use later. Just know that the critique circle is (can be) a valuable experience. The ‘can be’ will be included in the post on cc rules.
- Attend workshops. Look for small classes by respected writers. (That usually mean published.)
- Most of all, write. I know it’s a cliché for some, but set a time, make a space, get ear plugs if you need to, but write, write, write …
Aruba, closed laptop, open bar … the best way to cope with writer’s block … if I ever get it.