Ten Things I’ve Learned From Writing
Ten Things I Have Learned From Writing
I am sure every writer could make their own list of 10, but I bet you would see a good deal of similarities between many of us. Everyone has their own goals and reasons to write, but often what you discover, might be quite different from what you set out to find.
1. I Have Learned To Be More Patient
If you need instant gratification, you might be able to get it from the act of writing itself, but if you are looking for praise or feedback, you better buckle in and get ready for the long haul, because it will not be coming quickly. Even for small press magazines you usually have to wait between 2-4 months to even know if your story is accepted and if it is, you’ll probably have another 9 months to go after that before it gets published. Do not even get me started on books.
2. I Have Learned To Make The Cold Sell
Or have at least tried to. Certainly many people do this for a living, I however was never one of them. Besides a few job interviews, I never had much experience with this. Now, however, be it a query letter to someone I have never met, a story proposal, or even a book sale, I have learned how to put on a positive affect and sell myself. Sometimes it even works.
3. Polished My Understanding Of The English Language And Grammar.
Strangely enough, I was never very good at grammar and spelling. I wound not be surprised if anyone reading this finds a few spelling mistakes, even after I read through it a few times. I was born with profound dyslexia. So in some ways, me becoming a writter is like one of those corny after school specials where the person tries to do what is hardest for them. Still, I think this would be true for everyone, the more you write, the more you learn about the proper use of language and improve.
4. A Greater Humbleness Has Been Acquired
This happens with many things in life, for when you start a new project/activity/ job/profession most likely you will find yourself near the bottom of the ladder. While you are working your way up, the need to be humble arises. No, you do not know more about this than anyone else. At least when you are starting, you tend to know less than everyone else. Writing is a tough field, full of competition, and loads of people scrambling for the same slice of pie. If you want to make it anywhere, you need to be polite and start collecting mentors, allies, and friends. Being humble and helpful is usually the best way to start doing this.
5. The Benefits Of Volunteering Were Proven To Me.
Sometimes in this world, you have to give before you get. Since I work in the Mental Health field, mostly with poorer folks, I always tended to consider my poorly paying job giving back to my community to the extent where I did not feel more volunteerism was necessary. However, once I started writing, I knew that there was a lot I needed to learn and no one would be paying me for me current skills. Since I also certainly could not afford to pay anyone, volunteering became the obvious answer. Volunteering is great, because since you are doing publishers etc a favor, they will help you out and answer questions. Also, while this is happening, you are learning a lot about the writing biz from the other side of the page. I would recommend this for all beginning authors.
6. Learning Budget My Time Became More Important
I have always been a guy that liked to keep busy, but I did not really know the meaning of the word until I became a writer. Once you are a writer, you have to realize that you will never run out of things to do and you can never catch up. Between volunteering to help others, reading your new friend’s books, being in a writing group, you can have endless hours of work to do, before you even begin to think about writing something. Then when you do write something, chances are you will spend several times as long as you did writing the thing, polishing it up before you can send it off. Writers also find themselves under deadlines quite often. One thing I do, and I guess this is pretty basic, but I just do what needs to be done first and then work down. These might now be the most important or exicting projects, but being late for a dealine is not an acceptable alternative.
7. I Learned That You Can Make Friends With People You Have Never Meet.
I used to make fun of people that called people they met online friends or even worse, girl/boyfriend. While the latter might still be a sticky issue, I have to say that through writing I have meet some seriously wonderful people. Like the rest of life, some are just nice acquaintances, but others have truly changed my life. From my publisher at Cyberwizard Productions who is now also my friend and therapist (poor woman), to all the people I’ve met overseas, writing has really opened up the world for me and I love all the new and wonderful people that have graced my life.
8. I Have Gained Promotional And Marketing Knowledge
Again, there are millions that know much more about this than I, but I went from knowing zlitch to at least having some grasp on how things work. Also, now that I am the Marketing Manager for Abandoned Towers Magazine, I continue to learn more all the time. When my first book, The Chronicles Of Jack Primus came out, I know I need to learn more and learn fast. One last note, and this may seem weird to some of you, but I actually think promotion is kind of fun.
9. I Discovered That I Have The Ability To Ask Other People For Favors.
In the world of long hours for almost no pay, we writers have learned to stick together. Multiple eyes are always good and writers do need help. Over the last few years, I have asked everyone from fellow writers, co-workers, and even long lost friends to review my works. I usually hate to ask for favors, but in this field you really have to, so you might as well get used to it.
10. I Have learned More About Myself
No matter what you write, you are always learning more about yourself. And when you write fiction, this is quickly enhanced tenfold. Just as you learn much of the inner workings of the authors you read, people will be learning about you when they read your thoughts put onto paper or screen. Our morals, ethics, and thoughts are exposed for all to see, but just as they see them, so do we. It is a gift to see our own reality focused in such a manner and in the end is equal to hours upon hours of counseling.