- Lori Carol Maloy
5 Tips for Beginners to Get Started and Learn to Write
Writing is much more complicated than it was twenty years ago. It’s not just about writing anymore and this demand on my time, like the tin cans dragging behind the getaway car at a wedding, are driving me crazy.
I enjoy writing just about anything: Humor, poetry, fiction and non-fictions, blogs, short stories. For me, fully expressing myself with words is liberating. In a healing way, writing helps me find my way back home. I stopped writing for two decades (a long time), and I’m much older now. At this stage in the game all I care about is getting the words on paper before I run out of air and total mobility in my hands. Who knows how much time I have left to say what I need to say?
But I’d also like to enjoy the journey, whatever’s left of it.
Help is on the way
Writers don’t have to wander through the quicksand without help. We can grab onto our own little safety rope together just like a preschool child on the way to playground with the rest of the gang. There are plenty of other writers out there doing their best to help confused and weary folks like me navigate and learn the new rules:
My electronic inboxes are filled with articles that reassure, coddle, encourage, correct, teach, and prod the budding writer onward. Encouragers on Twitter and Facebook join in the with plenty of tips and how to blogs, as well as inspiration memes and quotes. And then there are black holes full of books about the writing process and how to write: big books, little books, fat books, skinny books. But the underlying message is, writers write … so get to it.
Don’t stop. Don’t give up. If you want to be a great writer or one who actually gets published, write through dark seasons of writer’s block. Write through those uninspired moments, around those screaming children (or grandchildren), before or after your job, through family get-togethers, and all that life might bring.
And if you don’t think you can write, learn to write, and be humble about it!
I try to be a pleaser and latch onto every morsel of information I can digest. My fingers keep on tapping away at the computer keys. I’ve written numerous short stories, poems, three novels and a non-fiction book on anxiety (Of course they’re all in the editing process—kill me now).
I twitter and Facebook and Instagram. Why? Because they tell me to at writer’s conferences and in the articles. Build that platform! Lure those readers. I feel like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “if I build it, they will come.” Like I said, I do what I’m told.
I blog, both on my counseling website and my author website. They say it helps get your words and message out there and keeps you writing. Check!
Write what you enjoy
Then there are the short stories (I do love writing these), but where should I send them? I could publish them on my blog (Don’t do that, most gurus say). Or I could tuck them in a folder. Maybe choose a place to send them to–single submission; multiple submission–Oh, my! Which ones to choose out of the 20 zillion—must I scan through all those publications?) Or maybe, I should just publish them on Medium or someone else’s site. I just don’t know.
Writing poetry sounds simple enough. Maybe I’ll write just a few more of those and send them … WHERE? Which markets should I choose? I need to know these markets, too. Or should I just fling them into Twitter world for all the world to see and then forget about them?
I just don’t know.
Get some exposure
Contests? All the writing gurus say to enter as many as you can. But which ones are the good ones? The legit ones? Should I pay to submit or is that a no-no? (More research needed).
And on to edits—I hate this part. Editing makes me want to fall on the sword and join Tom Cruise in the movie, The Last Samurai.
Then there’s the newsletter, but don’t call it a newsletter. “Every serious writer has one.” Do they? What will I say and who will want to hear me say it? Be confident. Be brave. Time to dig out all those Brene Brown inspirational books I bought.
So, after the blogging and the twittering, and the Insta—Facebooking (catch a breath), and the newsletter, and the nitty-gritty world of magazines, publications, and publishing houses–As Dorothy said so well, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!
I’m losing ground. Still I must learn all the likes and dislikes of agents that I want to pursue. And I also must know the ins-and-outs of website building, newsletter writing, and attend to all the online groups I’ve been invited to (I need a drink of water and an oxygen mask right now).
Then there are the likes and the likes and the likes….
When will I find time for writing?
Can I go it alone?
I am wondering when everything became so complicated. When did the top five publishing houses stop doing all the marketing and coddling and selling so that I could just write?
“No, you can’t just write. How absurd to dwell on such a thought as that? Take a workshop so you must market, and mingle, and chatter about and do the job the big five used to do for writers.
I can even self-publish if I learn to be a publisher, but that makes me feel as naked as a playboy centerfold. In the 90’s self-publishing was totally taboo and would tarnish the writer from any future hope of traditional publishing. Today it is not only acceptable, but sometimes necessary. Isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m blogging?
Oh, Internet lovers, what have we done to ourselves?
I am weary just thinking about everything I am told to do and struggling to find spare moments to dig deep and write.
A wise woman once responded to me on a Facebook post. She said, “You must enjoy the process. If you don’t, then something’s wrong.” Her words caused me to stop and re-evaluate the entire journey.
Just write; enjoy the worlds you create and the writer folk you meet along the way.
I am a tortoise, and I will get there eventually. The tortoise won’t be exhausted or worn out at all when he hits the finish line, if he ever does, because he’ll still be writing. He’ll have enjoyed the journey.
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay