So if I want to be a writer, I need to write. Build up the habit of writing every day. This is me writing something. Maybe my second piece could be about writing. My mom is the one who put the idea in my head to write.
My mom is pretty smart and used to be my dad’s writing partner. She spells really well and knows grammar in and out. I can barely make a sentence diagram. I know what a verb is. Subject, I take an educated guess. Adjectives I mostly know. These sentences will probably make my mom shake her head at me. We might leave them as they are so you can feel her pain. She’s my first editor. She probably going to talk me into fixing these sentences. And in matters of grammar, I usually bow to her wisdom. (Mom: Only minor things. After all, this is stream of consciousness writing.)
I really love my mom. She’s pretty cool and chill. And she thinks I’m wonderful. She’s slightly biased; but, I’m glad she’s my mom. We have fun doing these writing things. I write and misspell stuff and she reads through it all and fixes my mistakes. We talk about anything that she needs to clarify or we figure out what to do with this or that.
My dad used to write by hand and my mom deciphered his handwriting. Since she knew how to type and work the script softwares, she’d type up what my dad wrote. I remember some of the screenplays that they worked on. I wish we could have produced my dad’s work. He was a good writer, understood characters and wrote them well. He wrote great dialogue, too.
I won’t ever be a great writer like him. I write whatever comes into my mind and edit it away with a chisel. He edited it in his head. He’d get lots of ideas, but wouldn’t write a word unless it revealed character and/or moved the story forward.
I used to write fanfiction. I like it, but I’m in a non-fiction stage right now. Maybe someday I’ll get back into it and pick up my story where I left it hanging.
I’m going to stop and take a break now. Maybe I’ll get a little bowl of goldfish crackers. That was my dad’s writing snack. Yeah, see you in a minute. Well, I got my mom some goldfishes too. She laughed when I told her the name of the piece. She got a kick out of it when I explained I’m writing about writing. It feels good to make people laugh. My dad was good at that and so is my brother. Making people laugh for good reasons, not the mean ones.
So this piece is kinda a-behind-the-scenes look at my budding writing career. I’m trying to build up the habit of writing. And so I decided after a chat with one of my friends yesterday to try to write for at least 15 minutes a day, Monday through Friday.
It’s funny. I sat down with no idea of what to write and now “The Next Piece” is born. Writing about writing.
Why am I writing. I’m hoping to eventually sell and publish some of my writings. Which, wow, what an impossible dream that is. There’s a lot of talented writers out there. I have a slight impostor syndrome when it comes to writing.
I don’t have the mechanics of writing down. Hopefully, I’ll get better over time. There’s a lot where I can improve.
My friends’ and mom’s feedback keep telling me to write. I may never make money from writing. But, gee whiz, it would be nice if I could, miracle of miracles, make a living writing.
I don’t drive due to vision issues. And writing is something I could do right here in my own home. Sit down everyday and just write. Write and something new would be created. The old writing proverb, “In the beginning was the word.” As my dad used to say, “Nothing happens without a piece of paper.”
What do I want to write? And I need to figure out some good topics for my blog. I could go through my book notes and do some pieces on what I learned. I don’t know. Maybe it would be better to just do stream of consciousness for the journaling. Probably do a mix of the two.
I really don’t know what to say. Writers ought to have some depth to themselves with interesting things to say or keep you reading to see what will happen in the story next. I never used to be into journaling. But now it seems the only way I want to write.
Woke up early this morning around 4 something and finally got up around 5am. Had a nice devotional time and then read until 10am. Finished a Marie Kondo manga about tidying up. I’ve been stewing on the why behind the clutter revealed by Marie Kondo. People are either attached to the past or live in fear of the future. Then I read some of Jordan Peterson’s book, “12 Rules for Life”. I got up to the fourth chapter. The rule was something about compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. But, that’s the gist of it. It would be helpful to find what sparks joy for me and orient myself towards the highest good.
I need something to aim for. Getting published is too expedient a goal. Need something more meaningful. What would I like to write? I like eclectic things. Should I funnel in on something? Focus in and make a choice. This is something my brain can stew on. I don’t have a deadline or anything like that hanging over me. Writing is a process of discovery for me. Learning what to say and how to say it. I like that as my aim.
I’m a writer. I can say that now. It gives me a vocational identity. Which is helpful in this world. Everyone asks, “So what do you do?” I can now say, “I’m a writer.” Maybe it’s prideful or egotistical to admit wanting to say I’m a writer. There are writers out there more talented than I am. Some published, some not. Several of my friends are real wordsmiths.
They say writing is a lonely profession. Most of the time you’re just in your head and alone. I’m lucky to have friends who write. Sometimes we get together, on Discord, and read some of the stuff we wrote. I think it’s great. It’s interesting to hear others’ writings.
I’ve been trying to think on what to write about and what sparks joy and what to aim for in my writing. Other than stumbling on a book on how to take smart notes, I don’t have much. Perhaps, I will learn what to write about as time goes on. Maybe my writing will evolve like my interests do. At this time I don’t have a book I want to write.
It’s been a while since I last wrote this. Been trimming and editing. I have a couple of updates to add. I purchased several things, a book “Byline Bible” and the 2021 Christian Writer’s Market Guide. So now I can look for places to publish my writing. Got feedback that I could publish my first piece. So I’ve been looking and trying to figure out where to publish it. It’s way longer than the 900 word pieces the Byline Bible says certain types of articles should be. Now I know what kinds of pieces sell and what to write. This piece is too long and more personal. So it’ll probably be posted to my blog. The first piece I wrote ended up at 2,400 words. Way too long for the 400 – 900 word personal essay. I did get another book, “You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One)”. It’s about writing and building your author platform. Also picked up the latest Writer’s Market.
Following advice from “You are a Writer…” book, I joined Twitter. Because that’s where the writing community is. It’s been a bit of a learning curve. In order to pursue writing professionally, I need to build up a writing habit. I also need to build a platform to connect with fans and friends. Luckily, I already have a website and a few blog posts. None are geared towards writing. I have one blog post about essential oils. I’m going to leave it up along with my essential oil links. Because that’s a part of who I am. I’m not going to hide that part of me. I’m just going to hide other parts of myself instead.
My website should reflect my eclectic interests. I might make some other blog posts about the books and other things I’ve learned. I might write more about things I learn or know. I’m going to keep being me. I don’t want to write about the controversial stuff. Yeah, I have opinions on things, but I don’t need to try to make you believe what I believe. Maybe I might stand on my social media soapbox someday, but not today. I’ve got my hands full just living my life, helping my family and now writing.
So if you’re a fellow writer just getting into the business; here are a few helpful resources for you.
“Byline Bible” explains how to build up experience and get published in magazines. I learned a lot from it, taking 20 pages of notes from it. According to the author, there are 5 basic types of essays / articles that are always in demand and easier for newer writers to write.
Writer’s Digest publishes a directory of book publishers and publications every year.
2021 Christian Writer’s Market Guide.
Writer’s Digest is a magazine for writers. They have a lot of articles on their website. https://www.writersdigest.com/
How to format your manuscript. Writer’s Market had slightly different margin and font choices. So, I think some of it’s up to personal preference. Including this link because you gotta start somewhere.
Alternative Links to Writer’s Market
Some of the links are outdated. But, I only knew about Writer’s Market and was curious as to what else is out there.
Writer Beware: Literary Agents
What writing resources do you recommend? Post them in the comments below.
Some of my favorite texts on writing:
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
Breathing In, Breathing Out by Ralph Fletcher
Valerie Flynn says
Thank you for these great book recommendations!
Rebecca J Carlson says
Hi Valerie! For anyone writing to the children’s market, I recommend the SCBWI. They’re an excellent professional organization that does a lot to help writers learn their craft and find publishing opportunities.
Valerie Flynn says
Yes, great organization. Thank you for commenting!
Shannon Guerra says
Congrats on this new journey! The two writing books that I recommend to every aspiring writer are On Writing Well by William Zinsser and Elements of Style by Strunk and White. And of course, write as much as possible and read as many good books as possible.
Valerie Flynn says
Thank you for the encouragement, the book recommendations and the writing advice!