Steps to become a writer.
To become a writer and an author can be a painful process. It also can be a joy once the writing growing pains are overcome.
Baby steps. My first foray into writing something personal came in the form of a memoir. Somehow, I stumbled along, dusting off vague memories of sentence construction and use of tenses. Someone edited it. Goodness, gracious – what were all those red marks? It was not good. I rethought what to write about and how to do it.
Student steps. I realized I had a lot to learn. I began to read, learn, listen. I went to conferences. I exposed my tender attempts to a critique group. More red marks. But I began to get the hang of it, and my writing improved.
My creation, coming from inside my heart and soul, when born, was tender and still unformed. At first, any criticism hurt. My skin was thin. I even felt a bit rebellious, like a teenager. I thought, ‘this is my writing. How dare they? I’ll do it my way.’ Of course, that was immature thinking. I eventually developed a thicker skin and listened and applied other people’s suggestions – most of the time! The writing grew and changed.
The Mature path. I structured my work and my writing. ‘Plotting and pantsing.’
Plotting. I started fresh and plotted out the whole project from scratch, beginning to end.
Pantsing. With a chapter in mind, I wrote free hand, by the seat of my pants, as thoughts flowed. Then I began the serious writing once the thoughts had been formed. Then a strange thing happens. The thoughts begin to take shape and fly. Some say its ‘being in the zone.’ Nothing matters except what flows onto the paper. It becomes art.
Then reality sets in. The flight of fancy ends and finds feet on the ground.
After writing a document for a few hours, I let it sit for a day, and edit the next day, before starting a new piece. Editing became a process to allow the piece to evolve and grow stronger.
I began to write like a pro. I began to write like an artist. A novel was born.