Saturday, January 21, 2012

You Have Something Worth Saying—15 Ways to Embark on a Wild Writing Adventure

I had the privilege of sharing my experience with, and love for writing with our local homeschool group this week, along with several published authors. Below, I am sharing part of a handout I prepared (along with some commentary) to help young students.

Do you want to write and publish your work? Where do you begin?

15 Ways to Embark on a Wild Writing Adventure 

1. Believe in yourself, and be the peculiar person that God made you to be
 Everyone is unique. We all come from different backgrounds with special gifts, experiences and talents. Don't try to be someone you aren't—tap into your own creativity and style—making it your own.

2. Possess a growth mindset—you can learn and do what you put effort into
 I wish I had understood this much sooner in life, so I really want to emphasize this. Don't hinder yourself by thinking you cannot learn something—you most certainly can! Even the most talented and experienced people began at the bottom, putting forth a lot of patience and practice. If it's worth doing, don't limit yourself.

3. Think creatively—play with words and sentences and make it FUN
 Writing is hard work, but you can make it more fun if you view it creatively and lightheartedly. Enjoy the process of writing.

4. Write ‘til your hand and wrist hurts—NOT, but write every day you can
 Practice, practice, practice. The best writers got that way by doing what they love: writing.

5. If you have a brain freeze, write anyway, and see what surfaces
It happens sometimes. But there is a type of writing known as freewriting where you just write and see what comes. It could get you started to where you want to go.

6. Finish what you start (or play trashcan basketball with your paper wads)
It's a good idea to give each project your all, and then look toward the final edit where you can change it anyway you want. It just might be that it needs a new twist or a major overhaul, but your diligent attitude will pay off.

7. Keep breathing . . . and save editing until you get your thoughts down 
Spelling, grammar, the hard stuff . . . let it wait till you have something nice to work with. No one writes the perfect paper first time around.

8. Read a lot—including classics, and reach beyond your normal interests too
I did not know about the classics until I was a homeschooling teacher, and then I read aloud with my sons and read also on my own. Becoming well read will add a wonderful element to your overall writing experience, growth and knowledge base.

9. Read how-to books or web sites on the craft of writing
I'm going to do a post following this one with some favorite and new links that will greatly help you.

10. Be brave—share your work with others
Don't be shy, but most beginning writers are. Find a friend, family member, or small group of writers who will join forces to help each other improve and bounce ideas around.

11.  Listen to constructive feedback, even if it’s your mother (you don’t have to agree if you don’t want to)
It's your work, only make changes that you decide, but do listen to and respect your reader's comments.

12.   Be an inspiration to yourself and take a writing course (you might find out a lot more about who you really are)
You may not know what you are capable of until you stretch yourself into a new learning zone. Try it!

13. Enter a contest (you could win $$$) or submit your writing to a friendly market
Just start somewhere. Once you get a small (or big) effort published or known, you'll be spurred on to new writing heights.

14. Set goals, and plan out the steps to get to where you want to be, marking off little achievements as you go
Lists can be your best friends. Decide your plan and make it happen. You'll feel great as you get closer to your big goal, and when you do, celebrate!

15.   In everything, give thanks! (It could be worse you know—think Cinderella)
Attitude is everything. Did you know that God can take something that seems bad and turn it into something good? There are going to be trying days and hard times, but take heart and know that everything will work out in the end. You can do this!

  Think About It . . .  

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
—Philippians 4:8

"If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way."—Napoleon Hill
“Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” —Mark Twain
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."  —Dr. Seuss
"Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
—Judy Garland

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