I love this month’s theme—things they don’t tell you about writing. So much fun! And there are so many things I could choose, because I came into writing and publishing as naïve as a former nun on her first date!
I’ll start with telling you that unless you paid an extraordinary amount of attention in your high school and college English courses, you’re going to have to devote a lot of time to brushing up on punctuation and grammar rules. Sure, I was a good student back in the day. Always had an A in my language arts classes. Then I started writing and realized that I had no idea on how to correctly use commas. My critique partners were quite happy to re-educate me, and I do the same for anyone I critique. Whenever I judge writing contests, I go out of my way to give a few pointers on correct punctuation and grammar, since most newbie writers struggle with both.
Writing isn’t easy. Duh, I know. But it took a little while for me to realize that writing is a skill that’s learned and then honed by constant practice. No matter how many books I’ve written and published, I learn something new from each critique or each edit. If you want to grow as a writer, check your arrogance at the door and listen to good constructive criticism. Trust me, you’ll learn something that will make you a better writer.
Being published doesn’t mean you’re a “writer.” With the proliferation of books being tossed out in today’s glutted market, getting “published” is relatively easy. Hell, if you can’t find a publisher, do it yourself! Which means a lot of crap is out there in Cyberland. Don’t mistake having a book available with being a “writer.” To me, a writer is a person who wants to grow in her craft. A writer is a person who pours parts of herself into every paragraph and feels everything each of her characters feel. A writer is a creature of blood, sweat, and tears that make each and every story a part of her soul.
I wish someone would’ve warned me about how addictive writing can be. When someone asks what made me write my first book, I always tell them it was on my Bucket List. So I wrote a book. Then I realized writing was my “crack,” and I simply couldn’t stop. It’s a great addiction, but it’s one that took over my life. In a good way, sure. But if you’re bitten by the bug, expect changes. Warn your spouse. Warn your kids. Warn your pets. Writing will demand much more than its fair share of your time.
And finally, if I’d have known that writing would be such a joy, I would’ve started my first book a long time ago. Writing had opened up new worlds to me. I’ve traveled coast-to-coast. I’ve made friends whom I cherish. And I’ve received both praise and criticism that have shaped me as a human being.
I don’t know how I ever lived without it.
My April release is up for pre-order!
Fringe Benefits (Ladies Who Lunch Book 4)
HOT FOR TEACHER!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.