Everyone has a dream. For years, I thought about writing but never acted. Ok, maybe I'd get a great idea for a story and do a little plotting in my head. I’d even write a scene or two, but it never went any further.
There were all sorts of excuses. I don’t have a good command of the English language. I don’t have the time. It’s not a full moon, and the planets aren't aligned just right. Does this sound familiar?
Writing is certainly not for the faint-hearted. There is self-doubt, apprehension, and unease. It can take years to complete a story, but just think, nothing is worth anything if there is no sweat behind it. Persistence and self-belief will get you there. Take the jump and give it a try, it’s an incredible feeling when someone reads your story and tells you they liked it.
Schedule your writing by putting it on your calendar. It's amazing how many words you can get down on paper in a 20-minute sprint. The best I've done is about 350 words. I've sprinted during my lunch break, so even if you think you're too busy, there is time.
Another way to keep your writing on track is to join a writer’s group. Remember, misery loves company. A network of writers is a great resource. I meet my writer's group every Sunday night without fail. We write, brainstorm, and have a lot of fun.
The stories I’ve written in my early days are awful. I should be embarrassed, but I’m not. It shows my growth. What helped me develop as a writer was joining a critique group. It was the best thing I did. Yes, I know opening yourself to criticism can feel like a knife slashing your heart, but the constructive analysis has benefits. Another set of eyes will identify plot holes, weaknesses, and strengths in your story.
Many authors use Word. The program will point out misspellings and basic grammar errors, but it doesn't do an in-depth check. I use the app Grammarly. Most people will write the way they talk. Slang is acceptable for dialogue, but not for the written prose. Even if you use the free version of Grammarly, it will improve your writing.
Another app I use is Natural Reader. It’s a text to speech program that helps with the flow. Your sentences should vary in length so the reading isn't flat. A combination of short, long, and compound sentences will give your writing a lyrical read and make it more enjoyable for the reader.
You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, you’ll miss the chance to attain your dream. It can take years, but you’ll get there. The reality is, you have to push the fears and doubts to the side and think, ‘I’m a writer, this is who I am’. There are readers out there waiting for you to get published.