It is easy to be a writer – that’s what some people think. They say, “Oh, you’re lucky. All you have to do is write. And you make millions.”
If only it were true, that writing is easy and extremely profitable. This hasn’t been my experience.
We writers know that writing is not easy work, but we’re still driven to the task of setting words on paper.
Writing is more than putting words on paper. We must organize those words in such a way that people will want to read them. We must follow certain conventions so editors will want to publish our work.
If it were just a matter of putting thousands of words into a manuscript, we’d all be rich. Instead, most of us are not making a dime most of the time.
Writing is an obsession. It is a need — the need for written expression of whatever is in our hearts and minds. It is a way of life. A lifestyle. Something we do because we have to or we won’t be totally happy. You see, at the end of the day when I’m ready for bed, if I can say I wrote an article or finished a chapter in my novel, I’ll be satisfied. I made progress and was productive for one day.
Creativity manifests in many ways. For writers, it is a matter of formulating sentences that are immediately written down, then tweaked into acceptable forms for publication.
The experience of writing starts when we make the decision to sit at our writing station to work. Whether that is in front of the computer or with a notebook and pen outdoors, our action of getting into the position signals our brain that it is time to write.
Before we start, we need to have a good idea about what we want to write. We need to choose our topic. Then start — not worrying at all about whether others will find the words acceptable. At this point we’re only writing to please ourselves. We’re letting our thoughts flow in whatever direction they will from the starting point to wherever we’re going.
Sometimes we have no idea where we’re going but the words flow on anyhow. At other times we’ve mapped out the progress of our story or essay, which often helps if we get stuck along the way. Whichever way we write, it is a simple matter of letting words well up inside our minds, then flow down through our fingers to manifest in pixels or ink in the world of literary achievement.
If you’re having trouble doing this, try meditating for five minutes first, then open your eyes and write whatever gibberish comes to mind. Five minutes of that will get the blockages out of you. Then choose your topic and make a statement. Then prove your statement. Get on with writing, get the flow started, and don’t look back.
When you’re done, you’ve got a precious thing — a raw manuscript waiting to be molded into whatever you want it to be. Love your manuscript. Let it rest a while. Let your mind rest. Then come back to it and read it over. As you do, your inner editor will manifest, suggesting more words here and corrections there. Follow your guidance from within. And when you’re done with the first read-through, think about what this manuscript really needs to become a document that will be accepted and loved by others.
Keep making changes, loving your inner editor, loving your manuscript, and loving the time you spend in this molding, sculpting activity. Your editing sessions should be as enjoyable as the time you spent writing. Every part of this builds toward making your manuscript shine with the attributes you’ve dreamed of for it.
When you’re done it is time to share. Your manuscript wasn’t created for your eyes alone. Pass it on to your critique group, an agent, or an editor. Your time with it is up, for the most part, unless further edits are requested by a publisher. It is time to move on to another project.
About the author: Linda Jo Martin is an adventurous writer who has climbed mountains, finished NaNoWriMo ten times, and fixed computers. These days she lives in North Idaho and attends a church nearby.