Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just Sing, Sing a Song

By Keith Fisher

If you were born close to when I was, you probably remember Karen Carpenter giving advice. She sang, "Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song." (see the lyrics)

Recently, I was talking with a young man, (about twenty-three) and the conversation turned to career choices. He didn’t know I was a writer when he mentioned his desire to be an author.

I asked him what he was doing about it, and he told me he was planning to take some classes and go on the internet to learn how to do it. I asked if he reads a lot. He said, "of course not, who has time for that?" Since he’s addicted to World of War Craft, I understood his reasoning.
I asked if he was writing and he referred me back to the earlier part of our conversation when he mentioned he’s going to learn how.

Since I’m not a writing instructor, and since others may be searching the internet for writing advice, I’m going to share with you some of what I told him.

Certainly, there’s a need for education—get all you can, but the best advice I’ve ever read from published authors is to write. When you’re not writing then you need to read. Books about writing will help, but books written in your chosen genre can help you more. Reading and writing are necessary in learning to write. If you aren’t writing something I question your desire to be an author.

Most of the authors I know were very good at playing make believe when they were children. Now that they are adults, it carries over. The stories are still in their heads trying desperately to come out. If you think about it, you’ll realize you’re already writing those stories, they just never get put on paper.

So, who cares if what you write is full of grammatical errors? If you’re reading, you will see first hand how sentences are fashioned and paragraphs are put together. Just write what’s in your head.

Then, after you write it, get help. Ask a trusted friend to give you advice. Preferably someone who will be honest with you. It doesn’t matter if the person has any expertise in writing or not. If what you have written is difficult to read they will know it, and you can learn from what they tell you.

While you write, take classes and go to writer’s conferences. Learn how to perfect your craft and submit what you write. If you wait until you get training you’ll never do it. To paraphrase the song above, don’t worry that you’re not good enough to write that magic book. Just write, write the words.

On a previous note, I lost count in the BIAM but I finished another book to edit. I’m turning back to another one this weekend. Pretty soon all my projects will be waiting for editing. Wish me luck and start writing.


Shanna Blythe said...

Good advice Keith. I wonder if he took it?

Tristi Pinkston said...

I love Karen Carpenter -- in fact, she's the reason why we named our daughter Caryn. We liked the unusual spelling, but that's where I got the name.

Keith, I've been thinking of hosting an editing challenge for October/November. What do you think?

Keith Fisher said...

Thanks for the comments. No Shanna, He didn't take it.

I'm up for another one Tristi. I've got some editing to do but maybe I can fit it in.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I always shake my head when people find out I'm a writer and they say "One day I'm going to write a book but I don't have time right now."

"Are you writing now?" I'll ask.

"I told you I don't have time."

Like writing a book will be something you can do on a rainy afternoon without any preparation.