Writing Advice #7
It’s already November. Can you believe it? The year is passing us by. Because of this realization, I began thinking about the beginning of the year and the commitments I’ve made. I want this chance to share with you a little about my journey up to this point in my writing career.
I discovered a knack for writing because of my second-year high school English teacher. The assignment she gave us was to write a short story. This was the first time I’d ever written anything. The only thing I remembered about the exercise was that I had written a love story. When my teacher read it, she said I had something. From then on, I started writing.
My life has taken many turns since then. I went to medical school in college. Then, having realized that curing the sick wasn’t really my thing, I walked into the Literature Department of my university and never looked back. This led me to become a teacher then an essay consultant. All of that was nine published novels ago.
I believe you need to make a commitment when it comes to your passion. Don’t allow yourself to wake up one morning wondering what you did with your life. So many people realize this too late. And I don’t want that to happen to you. I knew that to be a writer was what I really wanted. Nothing made me happier than to type out the stories of the characters in my head and sharing them with readers. So, come January of 2016, I recommitted myself to my writing.
First, I decided to write every day, even if it was just a page or a chapter or a blog post. I committed to writing. Anything. I read once that to be successful at something you need to put in your 10,000 hours. That’s what the Beatles and Bill Gates did. When I learned to play the piano, my teacher always told me to practice. I preferred pounding keys on a typewriter, and eventually, a computer rather than the black and white of a piano keyboard.
Years later, I realized that practice is needed in everything that you do. If you want to be good at something, you have to do it every day. And I haven’t looked back since. For the first time in years, I have written something every day without missing a beat. No matter how stressed or exhausted my day had been. I’m not sure I’ve clocked in my full 10,000 hours yet, but I’m getting there, and I think, I won’t ever stop. It’s become a habit I’m thankful to have developed.
Second, setting goals. Not New Year’s resolutions, mind you. Actual goals that you want to single-mindedly achieve. When I was younger, I hated the question “What will you be in five years?” This is usually asked by guidance counselors or psychologists. I thought: how would I know what I’ll be in a week much less five years? It’s only since committing to my writing that I’ve realized how vital the answer to that question really is. So, I set goals. Attainable ones and the sky is the limit ones.
The attainable ones: finish writing the novel, edit the novel, and have it published, among other things. The sky is the limit ones: become part of the New York Times Bestseller List, to see my characters on the silver screen, to go on a world signing tour, and attend all the conventions. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for the stars. It’s absolutely free and so much fun.
Once you have your goals, you have to go about fulfilling them. This is the hard part. It’s the actual work. It’s sitting in front of your computer and putting your novel together. It’s believing that you’ll make it even when the odds seem against you. When The Secret came out, it became an international phenomenon. And this is what I’ve learned: Think it. Say it. Do it. These three things actually comprise what The Secret is all about. Think of what you want: to be a writer. Say it: I am a writer. Do it: write every day.
I’ll end my post here because I think there’s a lot to ruminate on already. Let the ideas settle in first. There will be more posts in the coming days, don’t worry. And please, don’t think I’m an expert. Far from it. I’m learning so many new things every day. I just want to share my experiences with you in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I'd be able to help out, even just a little. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section. I’d be happy to answer them. And if there’s anything about writing or the journey itself that you want me to post about, suggest it in the comments too, and I’ll get to it in the future.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for another writing related post. If you've joined NaNo this year, you should be on chapter eight of your novel already. Remember, you can do it!
For now, this is Kate, signing out.