Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No pain, no gain. Growing as a writer.

Some people become writers after tossing a book aside and boldly proclaiming, “I can write better than that.” Other people write for months or years before timidly showing their work to anyone. No matter what type of personality you have, at some point, you’ve got to take risks to become a successful writer.

Here are steps to increase your opportunities for success as a writer:

If you’ve never shown your work to anyone, find a critique partner or group.

If you’re in a writers group, you can teach a workshop. (You don’t need to be the most experienced writer in the group. You only need to focus on one aspect of craft such as point of view or setting. Research on the Internet, with books and through other writers. Present your material. Not only will you have served your fellow writers but you will have learned more than if you’d only sat in the audience.)

If you’ve polished the same chapter several times, enter a contest to get feedback from professionals.

If you’ve won a few contests, you can become a first round judge.

If you attend any sort of community or church group that has speakers, try to present a topic to the group. You’ll develop public speaking skills, which is something every writer needs. It doesn’t have to be the keynote speech. Start small and work your way up.

Write an article on one aspect of writing craft. Your research will strengthen your own writing. Now look for a place to publish the piece—either online or in print media. Maybe you can guest on an established blog or perhaps it’s time to start your own.

All of these things can be intimidating. (Believe me, I know. I’ve done each one of them with fear and trembling.) If you wait until you’re comfortable, you’re going to miss many—if not most—opportunities. So take inventory of your writing. Are you at the same place as a writer that you were in last year? Have you grown as a writer or are you stagnant? If you haven’t grown, what is one step you can take right now?

Don’t procrastinate one more day. Meet that goal. Each step moves you farther along the writing road.

~Roxanne Sherwood

1 comment:

Jean said...

Thanks, Roxanne, for the challenge to step outside my comfort zone.