Did you buy your idea book yet? I hope so. I hope it is filled and brimming with new thoughts, new inspiration.
What happened after the idea book? I read. That’s it. Read.
I don’t have a formal writing education. In college, most of my friends came from schools with pretty large class sizes, giving the school the ability to offer cool subjects like creative writing, computer programming, bowling, archery, and more. When it came to english, my choices were English or AP English. AP English, as discussed in my In Dangerous Territory post, was more of a discussion group about literary works with some reports written on the side. There wasn’t much in terms of creative writing in my school career.
In college, Oral & Written Expression (OWE), a freshman writing class, was a core requirement. It was a joke. I mean useless… beyond useless. I wish I could get my money back, but that time is long gone. I could have taken other classes, but at the time, I didn’t know I wanted to write, and OWE was where writers go to die.
Time goes on and I hit my religion class where I get to write and start having fun doing so. I was writing about religious concepts; a spiritual autobiography, religion in the technological age, faith in the modern world. These reports were giving me a creative outlet to some degree. They were moving my neurons around and hitting that writing center that I love. I loved the classes so much, that I almost switched majors, and I am far from a religious person.
More time goes on and I lose touch and confidence in my writing skills. I stop reading as frequently and watch more television.
Sitting in a counseling session, I realized I needed to build confidence back and not necessarily by writing. I needed to read different styles from different genres and figure out if my unique brain could translate to a written story.
So that’s what I did.
In week one of 2017, I read my first book of the year, John Constantine – Hellblazer. For those of you scratching your heads, yes, it is a comic book. It was volume one. When it came to the comic genre, I made sure I read 6-7 hours worth of comics, because let’s face it, we could read 52 individual issues in 2 days, probably less.
I started a spreadsheet to keep track of my reading for that year. I finished the year reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and hit my 52 book goal… just barely. I finished the night before New Year’s, just getting in my goal.
During this time, I read a ton of different styles and genres; physics, climate change, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, and of course, comic books. A variety of authors with different styles including Jim Butcher, Ayn Rand, H.G. Wells, Richard Matheson, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Nye, Kurt Vonnegut… you get the point.
I immersed myself in differentiation.
The realization that all of these authors made it was gold for my confidence. Writing style didn’t matter. The key was a good story for fiction or the ability to give people answers to questions through non-fiction.
You don’t have to be the best writer. I found grammar and punctuation that weren’t caught in editing in almost every book I read.
Readers don’t care as long as the story is good or the question is being answered.
That doesn’t mean to skip editing. I write one draft for everything. No more. If you’re interested in how to do so, read Sometimes The Magic Works by Terry Brooks. Even though I write one draft, I still have to edit it for grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. I have spent over 4 times longer editing than I have writing the book, and that doesn’t include the time others spent editing it as well.
I highly recommend that any writer starting out immerses themselves in the industry. You don’t have to read 52 books. It’s difficult. I completed the goal just in the nick of time. If you don’t have the time for 52 books, try 10. Maybe only do 3 per genre and make sure they are completely different authors with different styles.
I know it helped me build confidence. I hope it helps you.
Tharmit the marmot beared no resemblance to a marmot. The stocky dwarf walked into the gas station, shoving a frail human to the side. His bulky armor clanged through the aisle. Passing an end cap full of chips, the battle-axe hanging at his side caught the edges, tearing the bags
Kevin jumped into the air, swinging his leg in a perfect roundhouse kick. He boxed an invisible, imaginary specter, a memory of his friends standing in front of him. As he calmed himself with a slow breathing exercise, he turned to the darkened room with a light hanging from a
Inspired by Sarah, wand maker & friend of witchy things Creaking chains screeched against metal as the wind blew. Everyone thought they were safe, even Sarah. Despite being into witchy things, Sarah never expected the malicious creature to raise its head from underneath. A few days ago, it reached out
My friend needed a pick me up, so asked her favorite animal, trait, and item. She picked self-aware, flashlight, and leopard. Then this happened… 🙂 Laura, with her self-aware mind, knew something wasn’t right. She turned around in the thick jungle as evil crashed through the dense foliage. Reaching to