#NANOWRIMO What to Write and a Book Giveaway
Most writing is not a special gift or talent. Writing is a skill that can be taught. It can be likened to bricklaying; you can learn it one brick at a time, and you get better the more bricks you lay.
The key is to always be willing to learn, grow and develop these skills. A writer, in order to master their craft, must be willing to change.
If you talk to those who work in hospices, they’ll tell you what lessons their dying patients bestow upon them. One word keeps coming up again and again: regret.
When faced with death, people look back over their lives. All the missed opportunities, the misplaced priorities, the things that weren’t done. Only a handful of people focus on what they did do and are content. These people have negotiated the five emotional steps of change, which are Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of Death & Dying. The last stage is acceptance. Kubler-Ross found that only 5% of those who were told they had a terminal illness were able to negotiate those five stages.
That number strikes a chord. Because in my Write It Forward book and program, I refer to the 5% rule for internally motivated change. I’ve taught writing for decades and have always been shocked at how few writers actually changed anything in their writing. I am no longer shocked. I have acceptance that I cannot change anyone but me. I can assist others if they desire it. This is based on my experiences and, more importantly, what I’ve learned from other writers, books, shows, and life.
78% of Americans believe they can write a book. I’d be willing to bet 77% of them will die regretting they never did. It’s not about getting published. It’s about creating and acting instead of reacting, often, too late.
You have only one thing stopping you from writing the best book you are capable of. You.
I call my book on the craft of writing a Toolkit because no tool is wrong. If I need to fasten two pieces of wood together and instead of picking up a hammer and nail, but rather pick up a saw, it is not the tool’s fault. It is mine.
In subsequent blogs, I am going to lay out numerous writing tools that will help you develop your craft as a writer. However, becoming an artist is up to you.
Point of view is the most critical style element in writing. It is also important in following the way I teach writing. I’ve been making a living writing for well over two decades and with each year and every new manuscript come new lessons learned. Over that time period I’ve taught writing novels and getting published at various workshops and for numerous organizations. I’ve attended many workshops and listened to other authors present. I’ve read many books and watched many movies and shows, constantly analyzing the writing, to learn new ways of creating. I’ve seen numerous ideas, stories and manuscripts in the course of teaching, helping other writers, and judging contests. I’ve been published by six different American publishers, many foreign publishers, worked with over a two-dozen editors, and have had four primary agents. I’ve been traditionally published by the Big Six in New York, and non-traditionally published through my own imprint. I’ve had hardcover, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, print on demand, and eBooks across the range of possible platforms published.
Too many people lament the state of publishing and the “crap” that fills the shelves in the local bookstore. My goal is not to complain but to explain; to tell you about the craft and art of writing so you can accomplish your goals.
The world of writing is a very diverse one and there is a place in it for just about everything and everyone. Things are changing rapidly, faster than ever, and I think it’s an exciting time to be an author, with more opportunities than ever before.
The bottom line is I write because I enjoy it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. The one commonality I have seen in every successful writer I’ve met is that they work very, very hard. There is a large degree of craftsmanship required to write a novel. It’s not magic; it’s hard work combined with the ability to constantly accept being critiqued and to critique one’s self.
Lately, I’ve focused on what it takes to be a successful author, not just in terms of the writing, but in terms of not only surviving, but thriving in the world of publishing.
The bottom line is the book. I love books. I love reading them and I love writing them.
Can you say what your book is about in 25 words or less? The Write It Forward Workshop: Conflict and Idea, we’ll discuss ways to find and state your original idea so that you can stay on course while writing and revising your book. Conflict drives your story and must escalate throughout your entire novel. One of the techniques we will use in this workshop is the Conflict Box. The Conflict Box is a way of diagraming conflict and allows you to focus on the protagonist, antagonist, their goals and finding out if you have the necessary conflict. The course will begin on 1 February and is done on-line in a Yahoo Loop email delivery system so you can read and work on lessons when its convenient for you. The course runs for one month and costs $50.00. For more details and to sign up go to the Cool Gus Website.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do in order to learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso.
So why do you write?