First of all, thank you for reading Hundred Book Pile Up. As of today, the twentieth week of posting, there have been 353 visits to the Welcome post. The individual post with the most hits so far is “Lin Oliver’s List Challenge” of 8/30/12. In the world of the internet, I’m sure that’s not impressive. In the world of blogs by unknowns, I have no idea if that’s any good. But I’m happy, and the speed of visits to new posts is picking up. Some posts took a week or more before they were read at all, but the last two weeks have had a number of hits within the first day. I’m taking that as a good sign.
Thank you, thank you.
My plan had been to up the number of postings to two or three times per week. That was before I realized how much time one post a week takes (and how I have to leave what I wrote alone long enough to see what needs to be edited out). So I will continue at once a week with the usual posting day sometime on Thursday. On the first post of the month, I’ll try to get in something I know about writing. (See below for January’s advice.)
I have read that a good blog makes sure there is a “call to action.” Hmmm? “Buy THE PIG AND THE DRAGON” comes to mind, but that’s just way too bossy. So please let me know what works for you and what doesn’t in the blog. What pulls you back? What wastes your time?
The good news is last year’s advice has not been rescinded, but I neglected to start at the beginning. So here’s the most basic, the simplest, and, simultaneously, the most difficult writing advice I know.
If you want to write, spend time writing. If you don’t know what to write, write a letter, write a to-do list, anything, but write. When my students used to tell me they couldn’t think of anything, I told them to write about what they would rather be doing, go ahead, whine about being stuck in a chair with an empty playground outside. I thought they could really get into that, but the kids usually thought it was just a dumb idea and they’d come up with their own.
Hey, it’s still a good idea. If you don’t know what to write, write about what you suddenly feel compelled to do instead, even it it’s only carefully arranging paper clips. Write about how you feel about not knowing what to write. See where it takes you. Keep it—you never can tell when it will help with a character.
So, Step One in Being a Writer is WRITE! That’s all it takes.
Now, if you also want to be a writer whose work is read. Step Two is actually Step One. It is also basic, simple, and, simultaneously, as complex as you care to make it. READ! Read lots. You’ll absorb many conventions and rhythms; you’ll see if there are particular forms for the genre or type of writing you want to do; you’ll see how different authors handle different literary issues; and mostly, you’ll enjoy yourself.
If you have begun moving toward the goal of writing, but haven’t yet taken the plunge, there is a book written for you. TWELVE STEPS TO BECOMING AN AUTHOR: A WRITER’S STORY OF BOOK PUBLISHING SUCCESS, by Linda Loegel and published in 2012 by Unlimited Publishing LLC, tells the illustrative story of fictional Rhonda as she journeys from a writer who stopped writing after one rejection, but still feels incomplete. A few years later she nervously attends her first writers’ group, where she learns her craft.
If you know you want to write, but don’t know what comes next, this is a good book for an overview of steps to take and issues to investigate. The book has an appendix of resources including other books for authors, magazines, social media, self-publishing sites, writing groups listed by state, and more. You can find out more about Linda at www.lindaloegel.blogspot.com
or, if you prefer,
And if you’d like my copy of TWELVE
STEPS TO BECOMING AN AUTHOR (think of it as A RECOVERY PROGRAM FOR WRITERS WHO PROCRASTINATE), let me know.
And Happy New Year!