Over the past 15 years, I have had the pleasure of meeting different writers from different genre and each had different techniques to approach their craft. The one thing that most have in common is that they read a lot and the other is that they wrote - often.
Writing isn't brain surgery, but it isn't easy by any means. It takes concentration, consistency and perseverance to create a marketable work. I often run into writers who run out of steam and shortcut the process that means that in the end, the reader suffers. The reader has to endure the poor writing, skimpy plot development, bad characters and worst of all, a good story idea with bad writing. When writers ask what they need to do to write a story, I am often tempted to say, "not much at all". Subjects and verbs can get a story out of anyone. But ever so often I get someone who will ask what does it take to write a good story and for the there are three things that I tell them. First, read. Reading is like "on-the-job" training for writers. It is an inexpensive course of the craft. Second, write - a lot. People forget the art of writing is more than Tweets and Social Media updates. You can craft a long form text, email or even better a hand written letter. You can write blog pieces or contribute to community newsletters. Writers who write well have a footprint of their writing for people to see. Contribute to anthologies when you have a chance and even participate in local storytelling competitions. The more you write and have your stories read or heard, you can develop your voice or hear when you make small errors in development. You can receive feedback about when you are unclear in your writing or when something is just not working they way you want to. Finally, care about your audience. If you are successful, you will ask someone to spend his or her money to purchase something that you created. Value your reader’s time and money and they will reward you with loyalty. Loyal readers read books that they wouldn't necessarily, except that a writer that they enjoy pens it. Loyal readers tell other readers and grow your business for you. Loyal readers will miss you when you haven't published and will encourage you to write when you do not feel like it. In short, loyal readers make writers have careers. Over the next few weeks, we will explore some of my favorite writers and their processes in hopes that it will spark something that you may need to create your own process.