Updates from Frederick Smith, former Detroiter living in Los Angeles, and author of Play It Forward (January 2015), Right Side of the Wrong Bed (December 2007), and Down For Whatever (July 2005).
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
New Year Resolutions on Writing
Many of us will probably make a ton of New Years resolutions in about a month... or perhaps some of us kept some from last year.
But one that I know I hear from many folks is this: I want to write.
And just like all resolutions, the advice I hear most is this: Start it and stick with it.
For writers, starting could mean a number of things:
1) Signing up for a first fiction class at your local community college or university extension program
2) If you don't like, or don't have money, for classes, it might mean checking out your local bookstore -- the independent or chain stores -- to see if there are any free one-time workshops happening in the coming weeks. Sometimes they offer free workshops.
3) If working with groups isn't your thing, maybe you'll want to check out some tips on beginning here or here. The second site, Paperback Writer, is a great site with daily tips on writing, editing, and publishing.
4) Even though most writers must work alone to create, eventually you'll have to share your work with someone. Is there a co-worker who's a secret writer? A neighbor who likes to read? Perhaps there's a gathering like Derrick L. Briggs' Stories in NYC, where folks can come together and share what they're writing and working on, in a non-judgmental environment? A favorite teacher you can share with? Or even an online buddy? It's nice to share with someone who'll be willing to support and challenge your work.
5) I would definitely encourage you to go to bookstore events where authors are reading and talking about their work. Where better to learn about getting started than from someone who has done it? Even if it means going to see writers you don't even know about... you'll learn something you never knew you never knew.
6) Finally, the main thing is just to write. Keep that notebook handy for jotting down ideas or funny lines you hear people say. And try to be consistent and persistent. For me, the early mornings work best -- like 5 am-ish. For others, it's from dinner to bedtime. Choose the time that's best for you, shut off the TV, cell phone, and IM (and maybe cut back on a bit of blog reading, lol) and you'll find time. There's always time for the things we find to be important. And one thing I find really handy: do NOT edit until your first draft is done... otherwise, you'll spend forever re-writing and never making progress forward. You can always edit later... once the piece is done. Keep that notebook handy for new ideas and new directions that come to you.
What other supplies might you need to get started or move ahead in your writing? Tayari Jones, who is celebrating a birthday, has a list of her favorite writing things on her blog.
And, as always, if you have questions you can always send me a quick note: fsmith827 at gmail dot com.
I know it's a month away before we're punch-drunk love and full of resolutions. But maybe thinking and planning for it now, whether it's writing or losing weight or smiling more, will help you when January 1 rolls in.
Others... feel free to chime in on getting started, please. Thanks! fs
Author of 3 QPOC/LGBT novels: Down For Whatever (05); Right Side of the Wrong Bed (08); Play It Forward (January 2015). www.FrederickLSmith.com @fsmith827
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