Recently a friend of mine asked if I had any tips on writing that I could share. Yeah, I know. It was my first thought too. (You’re asking ME? Seriously?) The conversation came about when he mentioned one of my old websites and asked for the link. I explained to him that the old website was gone, replaced by this shiny new page. He then informed me that he too had plans to write a book, his on leadership and management. When he asked for my advice, I had to tell him that my website was a great place to learn all the things that a writer should not do. I was only half joking.
I am by no means a professional writer, nor do I pretend to be. Everything I know about the craft comes from the seasoned pros that I follow on facebook, twitter and blogs. This website was built for one purpose…to document my journey, from a blank page to a published novel. The only tips I can offer are the ones that I’ve picked up along the way, graciously shared by those willing to answer my silly questions.
There are plenty of websites and blogs that talk about writing and how to improve your skills. This is not one of them. However, if you are a writer and aspiring author, then perhaps I can share my journey with you. If nothing else, you can see all the mistakes I make along the way. In essence, you can learn from the wrong way to write. Eventually I’ll put this disclaimer in a FAQ somewhere on the site.
In a video that I posted a few weeks ago, you may remember that I spoke about writing short stories while in the process of working on the novel. This is probably another fine example of what you should not do if you’re new to this. As promised though, let me tell you why I’ve decided to go this route.
A novel, especially the first one, can take a long time to complete. There may be a number of reasons for this, none of which I’ll bore you with. My point is, I’m not sure how long it will take for me to finish this first book. It would make me a happy camper if I could finish it this year, but it won’t break my heart if that’s not the case. What does bother me however, is that nagging little voice in my head that whispers little things like, ”you’re delusional…you have no training…your grammar is atrocious…you think people will actually read this crap…you are not a writer”, and the list goes on.
The novel would go much faster without working on short stories in the process, of that there’s no doubt. I can see a point somewhere in the future where it might take as little as three or four months to complete a novel, but that future only works if I’m confident in what I’m doing. Right now, I’m not. Wanting to write, and being a good writer do not necessarily go hand in hand. It’s true that I could write and not worry about which grammar rules I’m breaking…that’s what a good editor is for, right? My biggest concern is whether the stories in my head will have an audience. The quickest way to find out? Write some short stories and see how people react to them. This will also give me an indication of what areas I need to work on as a writer.
As for what to write about, well, that’s kind of open. Much like the music that I listen to, my taste in books is rather eclectic. The only exception to this would be rap, jazz and romance novels. Everything else is on the table. For that reason, it would be hard to focus on one genre in my writing. This is also something that new writers should probably not do, especially if they hope to build an audience and sell their work. Working on short stories will allow for some diversity though, and much needed practice in various techniques of the craft.
The goal is to post at least six of these shorts this year, one every two months. Right now I’m working one day a week on a short story, The Ride, while the remainder of my writing schedule is dedicated to the novel. The Ride, before it’s posted on this site, will go to a select group of readers, editors and authors, all of whom I trust to give me their honest critique. If all goes well, then it should be up in the early part of February, unless anything changes between now and then.
The next documentary post I make, after the story is live on the site, will offer some details on the writing and editing that went into it. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep you entertained on my blog and video updates.
Talk to you soon,