At some point you have to write something if you want to become a writer.
This is obvious, right? Of course, but so many people struggle to take the next step of actually ‘doing’ rather than ‘thinking’. I completely understand the fear of putting your work ‘out there’ for comment or ridicule. And, trust me, there are some nasty sorts trolling the web who will happily tell you your work is utter tripe. It’s still a ‘must’ though and you are never going to write something that everyone likes.
I began by posting my writing on website forums. Conn Iggulden is a historical fiction writer whose work I love. His forum, like many, has a writing section where people post work and others (including Conn himself) will read it and post comments. You can read my first post HERE. Much to my delight (and relief!) I received some amazing comments, including praise from Conn himself. The encouragement and confidence that Conn’s comments gave me are still with me today. Okay, not all comments were good, but I have a thick skin (another ‘must’ for all writers) and took all comments seriously and looked critically at what I had posted for ways to improve.
It was a great experience that improved my understanding of the craft of writing hugely. Conn also posted his own thoughts on writing and publishing which I highly recommend. You can find his post HERE.
You must also read and comment yourself. Think carefully about the piece and provide feedback gently and with encouragement. There’s always something that you can be positive about. Highlight the two or three main ways in which you feel the piece could be improved, and remember – your opinion is a valid as anyone else’s.
If you read other people’s work and comment respectfully, there’s a good chance they will reciprocate. I can’t recommend this enough. It’s so much easier to identify what’s wrong with someone else’s writing than with you own. You are always too close you your own work to be fully objective. Take the time to help others, it will benefit you enormously.
In my next post I will look at a writing course I took and what that offered. But, for now, get on those forums. Stick your neck out! If you’re serious about wanting to write, you’ll have to do it sometime.