Being a Writer - Step one
I'd like to be an investor like Warren Buffet, you know, rich, respected, and knowledgeable. As I’m not doing any investing, studying how to invest, or really much of anything about it, I suspect it's not likely to happen. On the other hand, I haven’t lost my savings while learning to read the market, and, instead of pouring over books about day trading, I’ve enjoyed watching sports with my buddies.
We watch athletes score in front of a huge cheering crowd, or perhaps a shot of them with pretty things standing close and a Ferrari nearby, and inevitably, one of the guys will say, “I was pretty good in high school. I shoulda’ kept in shape and really tried out.” I nod as though it was likely, that this fat guy with a bad back would have succeeded, but I’ve been a coach and know it’s not. What we’re viewing is the end result of kids born with natural talent and resilient character spending much of their childhood working through an increasingly competitive system. After years of being watched under pressure, they stood out in an overcrowded field.
That’s daunting by itself, but things get worse. They weren’t on a level playing field at any part of the process. Some had money behind them. Some had parents able to give good advice. All had bodies that matured at just the right time and an internal drive to push those weights, pack on that muscle and race those laps. Life works that way.
So does writing. We can’t just be a J.K. Rowling. We have to go through the process of getting there. And there's the rub, making the commitment, taking time, and developing a thick skin, because there’s a cost and a risk in learning to write well. What if, after all the work and time, it turns out that we’re really not very good at it? If we’d taken up gardening, we’d at least have ended up with a nice bunch of carrots.
The answer is that same internal motivation that kept young men and women working out, practicing their shot, and fighting for places on elite teams when they could have been munching Cheezies in front of Netflix with their buddies. A certain number of us just need to write. We’d prefer to be innately gifted and have Gone with the Wind flow out of our keyboard, but are willing to go through the process of learning and growing that will, fingers crossed, lead to something well worthwhile.
It's a journey of growth and self-awareness that has value, and it need not be a dark, lonely trip. There are great books about writing. I strongly recommend Lisa Cron’s Story Genius and Wired for Story. There are readings at libraries and bookstores, and hey, they’re usually free. There are writers’ guilds and associations. Writers’ workshops are almost certainly available near you, where you may find likeminded friends. And, of course, there are great internet tools like Critique Circle. It has helped me tremendously.
So, I’m challenging you. Put away the Cheezies, turn off Netflix, gulp, click on Word and start tapping away. Don’t like what you see? Fix it. Put it on Critique Circle and work through the process of writing thoughtfully and thinking in terms of how a stranger will understand what you just said. Learn to thrill, entertain and move people with the power of your words. You’re starting the great adventure.
Thanks for reading my first ever blog.