Many of us have wanted to be a writer in some way shape or form at some point in our lives. Who wouldn’t want to sit and pen the next great novel to the applause of millions of adoring fans?
I contend that almost anyone– with enough persistence and willingness– can become a successful writer. Of note, at least a reasonable command of one’s language (probably English if you’re reading this) is a requirement, but even I myself refer to a dictionary or thesaurus sometimes. No one can know everything, and English is not one of the easiest languages to work correctly.
The next requirement is being able to daydream– and to a certain point– the more fantastic the better. This is essential when we come to a scene that is dull or maybe needs to be “spruced up a bit”. As a basic premise when daydreaming….do not concern yourself with what is possible. ANYTHING is possible when you are “the puppet master and general all around emperor of the universe”. It’s YOUR story, YOUR world. Why ISN’T anything possible on such a playground? IF and HOW are not the questions– what and why are the only yardsticks at this point. This alone is part of the JOY of writing. Dare we play God? Yes. Until it’s on the screen, it’s all in our head anyway.
Once we have the idea ready to go, then we must put it to screen in a way that makes sense to the reader. In other words– John is walking down the street and he sees coming out of a manhole cover…..
- A workman and a slice of pizza (BORING, try again, unless you’re hungry for pizza)
- A workman being chased by BillyJoeJimBob with an Uzi trying to make the workman INTO pizza (Okay, better…..)
- An alien being that is finishing eating the workman that now looks like a bad pizza (MUCH better)
Now in number three, you’ve got some leg work to do to explain how the alien got into the city’s sewage system in the first place, but I hope you see my point. What can you dream?
Persistence and willingness. At this point I am committed to writing 100 words per day. As of this writing, I am NOW committing to 300 words a day. Now THAT would be a stretch. The important thing is to keep writing– EVERY day. The reason for this is two-fold. The first is to develop writing as a habit. This makes for more content writing down the road. Say you have to write a 1,000 word “flash” fiction story in 24 hours (on a dare or for a contest let’s say). Doing that from ground zero when you’re writing a thousand words a day is a no-brainer. Now if you haven’t written a story in six months, banging out 1,000 words overnight (let alone a GOOD story) would be nearly impossible. And don’t forget your kidneys disowning you after drinking that much coffee. The other reason is a little more subtle. Most readers want to see an author with more than “just one or two” books/stories to read. It’s not the money– it’s about that they don’t want to waste their precious reading time on an “untried” or “newbie” author only to find out that there isn’t any more to read after the first book (or two) is done. And that said….I’d better get writing….