I’ve probably said this before, but I can’t say it enough: if you want to be a writer, not just a good writer, but a great one, write what you know. Writing, like anything else you do in life, has to be something you know, something you love, something that becomes so much a part of you that it’s second nature. And while writing can be difficult at times. Frustrating. Completely blocked and shut off, if you have fallen in love with the written word, with the process of writing, and the act of telling a story, then all of the bad just fades away in comparison to those moments of brilliance when they finally come. And trust me, they do come.
So if writing is your dream, and you are determined to make it happen, then don’t give up. Hold on to that dream with both hands. And write. Write every single day. Blog. Tweet. Journal old school style. Text if you have to. Just craft copy anyway and everywhere you go. And it will happen. The writer within will become the writer the world will see.
Almost all successful writing begins with a response to an idea, experience, problem, or question. It’s hardly ever random. And your response needs some kind of process, even if it’s a rather loose one, which is what I prefer, otherwise I get so caught up in the process of writing I never actually get pen to paper.
So as a jumping off point, any writing response requires the following process in order to get from A to Z successfully:
- defining a purpose
- knowing your audience
- revising some more
You can craft your process based off of this one. It may take some trial and error to see what actually works for you; you’ll find it. And once you do, your writing will flow so much more smoothly for you. What it will never do, however, is go from idea to finished product without a number of steps in between. But wouldn’t that be nice for a change?
So I thought I’d share an excerpt from the book I just finished. I know, not exactly the type of content you might be looking for , but then again, we do learn from the writing of others.
Ambition — a strong desire for achievement, fame, or power
What It Is
Ambition has always been that which drives individuals forward. It’s what motivates us as a society to achieve more than our ancestors. The relentless pursuit of excellence, wealth, fame, power, whatever your desire may be, is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, right? However, when ambition takes total control of your life, to the point that you no longer care who you step on to get what you want, you may need to stop and ask yourself, “Have I crossed the line?” Yeah, I think the chances are pretty good that you have.
Be ambitious. Chase after your dreams and see them through. Be strong and persevere when others tell you that what you want is nothing more than a pipe dream. No one ever achieved great success, saw dreams come true, by giving up. But be careful in your pursuits; like everything else in life, carrying your ambition forward is a balancing act between achievement at all cost and giving in, giving up. To that end, neither extreme will ever serve you well.
Now go out and be ambitious; chase your dreams and make them come true.
OMG. I cannot even begin to tell you how damn busy I have been since my last entry … almost TWO MONTHS AGO! I know … I am sooooo sorry. But between the day job, freelance projects, and my own pet projects, I have simply not had any time to devote to this too, unless I could find a way to either eliminate the need for sleep or clone myself. Neither have panned out yet.
But, things are settling down a bit. Not too much; that would be a bad thing … just enough so that I can get back to the business of blogging. I’ve missed it!
I promise to have some solid content posted in the next couple of days. Until then, be patient loyal writing readers…
Recently I was asked about this whole pen name thing. “Hey allyah, what’s up with this whole pen name thing?” There’s no big mystery behind it. I’m not in some witness protection program. And I’m not on some celebrity-like star trip. It’s a simple matter of making a name for myself on my own terms.
Here’s the thing. A couple of years ago, when I started to freelance, I decided to google myself just to see what would turn up on my writing. I wasn’t expecting much as I hadn’t published that much yet; I didn’t expect what I found. Not only were there more than 250 people with the same name as me, there were at least four other professional writers showing up all over the place in addition to a journalist. WTF? It’s not as though I have that common of a name.
My dilemma: 1) I didn’t want to be confused with any of them: what if their writing sucked? 2) I didn’t have the time to read all of their stuff to see if it was any good: if I did happen to get “accidentally” confused with any of them and they were good, it could be in my favor. This was proving to be exhausting and more work than it was worth.
So the easiest thing to do was what writers have done for eons: create a pen name and start all over. I googled my new name and discovered to my delight that no one is published under it but me … and hopefully it will stay that way. Let the rock star attitude begin!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Writing at the speed of light isn’t as hard if you have your technique down cold. Of course, you have to have a grip on the technique, and that’s what trips up most writers in the first place, right?
We have the vision. We’re swimming in creativity. But we’re drowning in our own need for perfection. Word of advice: Let it go. No matter what words you choose, regardless of the voice and tone you select, no matter how carefully you craft the style, you will never achieve perfection. So get over it. If you don’t, you will never get the words on the page written and the work out the door.
The speed of light technique: Focus, write, revise. At some point you have to decide that your work is actually finished and move on.
You’ve written the perfect sales pitch. You’ve wowed them with a motivational speech that had them on their feet at the annual company meeting, then turned right around and knocked them off their feet with sensational web copy that drove in the business. You’re a rock star. And now you’ve got to write … about love. Not quite business as usual.
But, hey, you’re a professional, right? Up for any challenge? So here’s the deal. Writing is writing, and writing about love is all but a little different. You need to change your style, find your voice, and focus on a love interest, which, if you think about it, might actually be a little more fun than writing about how to pitch some tired company product to the masses.
And a final word of advice: find a thesaurus. There are plenty available online. Really comes in handy when you are struggling to find the right words.