What story do you want to tell?

Everyone has a story to tell, and only you can tell it in your voice, no matter how skilled a mimic someone might become. I’ve already said ‘don’t write for the money’, but you’ll hear me harp on that and many other subjects over and over until it’s reverberating in your skull. Why? That’s simple, because you’re the writer, the one with a story to tell, and the focus that you need to gather around before you start expanding your awareness to those that are ready to hear the same tale. It sounds vague and a little off-key, doesn’t it? But the truth is if you want to write, you’ll listen to the crazy just as much as the rational side of your mind since creating harmony between the two is sometimes essential to make this process work.

You’ve got a story to tell, right? You might as well make it interesting and let both sides of your personality, or all sides, have their say from time to time.

Are you a poet or a novelist?

So, you have a way with words, yeah? What way is that? Do you like to rhyme, do you feel a cadence within each word that has to be adhered to and/or applied in a manner that makes sense as you lead people down your path? Or are you the type to take an idea and guide people down the twisting highways of your imagination? A person can do both, but the strain that’s bound to come is going to be immense after a while since different styles of writing demand a lot and the respect due to each style is great enough that one should take the time to understand what they’re trying to accomplish. If you’re into telling epic tales that people will want to keep reading, then a short story, a novella, or a novel might be the best way to go. But if you can tell a story in a few lines of poetry then congrats, you’ve mastered another skill that is exceedingly tough.

Which style is more discerning? Well, that’s complicated, especially since according to many people, there are many different styles to adhere to, methods to apply, and techniques that will allow you to write in a manner that will attract the notice of those who will gladly pay you for your works. If I could roll my eyes on the page at the moment I would be, trust me. But, moving on.

There are hurdles to get past.

You’re not going to be a fantastic, best-selling writer from the start, just get that idea out of your head right now. If you do find success easily and without struggle, then I do feel sorry for you, since much like the life of a musician or an actor, adversity helps writers to get better at their craft, to hone their skills, and to find the necessary emotion to put into their works so that people will FEEL what they’re talking about and really get into the idea of what’s been written. Those who find success early and easily, sorry, but you might have the right connections to make it happen; it doesn’t mean you have the talent to sustain a long-lasting career. Remember Eragon? Everyone thought that kid was amazing for turning in a series at such a young age. But the trouble is that by taking elements from other stories in such a manner, one becomes a copycat, which is only a step up from being a plagiarist, and while his story became popular, it’s more of a testament to how fickle the fans are than to how great his work was or wasn’t.

Like it or not, you’ll have to get better at writing, you’ll need to listen to critiques, you’ll have to rewrite parts of your great works, and if you want to get noticed, you’ll have to work for it. This profession isn’t easy, it’s not kind, and it’s not about to see you succeed unless you’re willing to tear yourself apart and rebuild to get where you want to be. You might be a talented writer, but if you want to be a successful writer, you’ll have to work harder than you ever have before.

Write for you, then write for others.

This is one point that I will always give out for free since it’s one of the best ways to go when it comes to writing. Write what you like, write for yourself, and make sure that you like what you’re writing. This is you, this is your life, your mind, your thoughts and hopes that are spilling onto the page. If you don’t like it, how is anyone else supposed to?

The truth is that not everyone will like what you write. Face that, get over it, and understand that you can’t please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. Shoot, if you’ve worked in food service or retail you should already know that much. But write what you want, write what makes you happy, and if people give you ideas on how to improve and how to make it better, at least give them them the time of day and listen. They’re not making demands, they’re simply telling you what might work and what they think your writing could benefit from.

Be happy in what you do, but be willing to listen to ways that might make it better. That’s one way you become a better writer, and how you learn to become a great writer. Write what you want, and then make it better.

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