Monthly Archives: June 2014
*** This is my 100th post! Wanted to celebrate with you! ***
Ah, to be BORN a good writer. No matter how much raw talent you have, nobody is BORN a good writer. Writing is like anything else all the raw talent in the world doesn’t do any good if you don’t invest the time to learn what to do with it.
Trust me, I’ve had plenty of writing training:
- Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing from University of Arizona
- Attended writer’s conferences all over the world
- I have SHELF of “How To Write ____” books
There is value in all this knowledge. But at the end of the day, do taking classes make you a writer?
Does buying paint and an easel and canvas make you a painter? Hmm…
Here are seven questions to ask yourself before you invest in any writing class:
1. Will this class teach me something I don’t already know?
This is my Number One filter I use before I invest in another class (or book). There’s no right or wrong answer here! But I do apply this additional knowledge as well:
If yes: take the class.
If no: Is it because I am already familiar with the material or is it arrogance on my part?
2. Does this class advance my career?
Sometimes you need to take a class because while the material is familiar to you, the credential you get from completing the class is something that is really valuable.
Other times, the class itself has the knowledge you need.
Here’s an example from my experience: taking a class on how to create an index for a book. Did you know that you can get a certification as an indexer? I had no idea until I was researching how to create an index for my cookbook! So then the question was: Would this class (certification) set me apart from my book-publishing-competition in the markets that I work in?
For me, there’s a big difference between being inspired to write and having the motivation to write. One is about fun and ideas and flow and the other is about working towards a goal and keeping the end in mind.
I think that most books START with inspiration. You get that great idea, have that little voice whispering in your ear, or just get flat-out excited. It’s perfect to take those great feelings and get started! It’s that serendipitous moment that kick-starts the creativity.
Motivation is what keeps you going after the initial inspiration fades.
And inspiration probably WILL fade over time. Work ethic and the “I’m not going to let anything get in my way” take over and eventually, the writing gets completed. Motivation is a needed ingredient in your writing. But inspiration, ah, inspiration! Without it, nothing would get started.
Don’t for one second think that inspiration is limited to writing fiction! All writing is creative. You have to find the right order of words to express your thoughts. (If you’ve ever struggled to convey your thoughts you know what I mean!) In fact, MOST of my inspiration lately is about articles for the blog!
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t believe in writer’s block. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a LOT easier to write when inspiration is knocking.
5 Ways to Stay Inspired
1. When inspiration hits: WRITE
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drop everything and get words on paper. Period. No excuses. Inspiration doesn’t come around every day so make the most of it when it’s around. I’ve scribbled article drafts on napkins and done character sketches on the back of envelopes. And yes, I’m THAT WOMAN who’s pulled over to jot a note in the dust of the hood of my truck.
Have you ever had the feeling that you HAD to do something and that it had to be done right now? Right now! In fact, the feeling of NOT taking action made you feel uncomfortable, antsy, and emotional?
A mentor of mine calls these moments “taps from the Universe” and it’s where God is tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Do this!”
Last week, I had no fewer than FOUR conversations with different entrepreneurs who were getting the taps about their book but they each had the same concern:
Each wanted to write a book BUT it didn’t tie directly into their business. Each author expressed feeling like the book was calling to her and that SHE had been chosen to be its author. But, was the book still worth the time and effort to write since it didn’t fit neatly into the business box? And once it was written, what should be done with it?
When I’m first working with a new client, one of the questions that ALWAYS comes up is:
How long should my book be?
I get it, you want to write a book that has enough heft to it that people really think they are getting a lot of bang for their buck.
Let me ask you a different question, though: