In my house, my wife and I aren’t afraid to try new recipes that look good when we see them on various cooking shows we watch, or in magazines that we get from time to time. Last night, we attempted to make what could have been an a really delicious dinner made with a bechamel-type sauce, sweet potatoes, and ham. While the flavors were not bad, the sameness of the texture was a bit much and we ended up ordering some pizza.
When I was pondering what to write, today, I couldn’t help but make a correlation to the novice/beginning writer. I wrote very infrequently for a number of years and never took it seriously until this past year. I would produce some poems or I would write 80 or so pages of a book and then never think about it again. People would read it and enjoy it, but when I was asked why I never finished it or kept up with it, I really couldn’t give an answer. But now that I have been writing, both in blog form and in novel form, for about 8 or so months now, I can see more clearly why I never got back to those projects. I simply made something else more of a priority with my time. I didn’t surround my writing with things that helped my writing. And this is where I get back to the understanding of creativity. It’s not enough to just write. You have to surround yourself with the proper “atmosphere” that helps to keep writing at the forefront. You, essentially, have to dedicate yourself to that craft much in the same way that anyone would dedicate themselves to something that they either want to make a living off of, or at least become an expert at.
So, really, you first have to ask yourself just how serious you are about being a writer. If this is something that you are not willing to dedicate time (and a good deal of it can be the trudging and plodding kind of work) to not just writing but surrounding yourself with the things that help to fuel your writing, then I would be very careful in harnessing your expectations. Like everything in life, you must put in the work to be good. You either put the work in, now, or you put the work in over an extended period of time. But don’t expect for things to be the same as someone who dedicates their entire life to putting in the work that is necessary to becoming the best writer they can be.
But don’t get frustrated that you aren’t going to be a full-time writer, right away. Many an author have had to get jobs until they got published. I don’t remember Dan Wells’ story off the top of my head, but I know the rest of the Writing Excuses cast all had jobs doing something else, until their careers were at a point that they either had to let go of that job to make a full-time go of their writing career or they needed to quit their job because they were finally successful enough to make writing their career. And it is no coincidence that once they were able to dedicate themselves fully to their craft, that they became even more successful. Like I said, the proportional amount of work you are able to dedicate to a particular craft will usually equate to how well one’s skill develops.
So, as a beginning writer, you have to set yourself up for a reasonable level of expectation. You have to think about things in their totality and realize that it can take some writers a lifetime of writing to become good enough to publish. Others get it on their first try. It never hurts to submit your first (fully edited) work to a publisher for potential publication, but don’t expect to get a contract on your first go. The point of writing (while being published would be awesome) is to tell the stories that are inside of you just waiting to make their way on to the written page. You should always strive to become the best writer you can be. That doesn’t stop, even if you do get published. You can always be better and that’s what should motivate you to continue growing as a writer.
Next time, I want to talk about some of the things that can help in surrounding yourself with the right kind of things that will help you create the write atmosphere for maintaining a “life of writing”.
Have a great weekend!!