My approach to becoming a professional writer is two-fold:
- blogging professionally (duh)
- learning to craft literary fiction
I love telling stories, and getting paid to do it would be a nice bonus! Almost three years ago, I got a great start in writing fiction thanks to a great teacher and mentor. I wrote two award-winning short stories (here’s one). Since then, however, I’ve let it languish, and I haven’t produced a single new story.
But that is going to change — and soon.
- Spending nearly three hours reading M&M and doing its exercises
- Spending another three hours applying for an Article Editor position at mentalblank.com!
- Writing this blog!
- Plus the usual miscellaneous tweeting, Facebooking, and emailing
On my second read-through of Method and Madness, here’s what I’ve re-learned today:
- First: before I learn to write, I need to learn to see
Our world is filled with mysteries: things that we don’t fully understand, whether huge or small, and “our first responsibility as writers is simply to notice them” (34).
- Second: when I find a mystery that grabs my attention, I write about it
I try to evoke in words what it is that fascinates me, what it makes me feel, and what I see in it, so that the reader shares the experience.
- Third: Rather than stopping there, I use what I know to launch into what I don’t know and explore new mysteries!
A writer named Carlos Fuentes said, “Bad books are about things the writer already knew before he wrote them.” Writing leads to writing and discovery leads to discovery — so whatever I start out writing about will lead me to ask new questions and get new answers.
Writing is discovery — a kind of adventure. I’ve been scared that any new work can’t possibly live up to the praise of the old. I’ve felt I just don’t have any ideas. I’ve stopped doing creative exercises. Just at the time of my life when the world is at my feet, I’ve hardly taken those feet a few steps beyond my door.
But no more. I’m packing my bags and checking my gear — it’s time for new adventures in stories!
- Abandon all hope of leisure reading today
- Realize that absolutely no one reads pet stories on blogs (except other people who write pet stories)