Writers are always trying to improve themselves. Whether it’s the novice who nervously asks advice, or the mid-list writer who takes a class every month, we writers know that we can’t sell our work unless it’s stellar.
I’ve taken classes, still do. And never pass up the chance to listen to successful writers, hoping for that kernel of truth that will help me be a better writer and ultimately, more successful.
Of all the the advice I’ve gained through the years, there is one thing that I’ve memorized and learned to live by. BICHOK: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keys. Writers write.
We can take classes, have meetings, talk to readers, make plans, plot, dream, do character sketches, create world. But if we are not writing, we are not writers. The best advice I ever got was to write. Don’t sit at the computer for one hour. Sit at the computer for 500 words. Even 500 sucky words will benefit your writing. Because you can’t edit a blank page.
I’ve met some very prestigious writers over the years and loved talking with them, picking their brains, and hearing their stories. A wonderful author named Jean Walton once told me the story of a character who wouldn’t leave her alone until she wrote his book. And she also told me that writers write. An excellent critique partner named K. Sue Morgan had great stories about editors. And she never let me get away with sitting idle. Writers write. Kathryn Usher, a funny storyteller and writer once said she wrote on her lunch breaks, and even on her breaks, at work. She edited one story so much I didn’t recognize some of the scenes. She cut into it unmercifully. And told me she wanted to be successful, and that meant, writing, and re-writing.
Don’t be afraid to put words on the page. If you want to be a writer, get busy. Grab a notebook and pen, or a keyboard, and write. Write junk. If you can’t think of anything else to write, a story about your childhood will do. You have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid.
For the most part, writers are a good lot. We’re willing to help each other. So if you need help, ask. But above all, write.