When it comes to literature. Good writing and constructive writing comes down to personal opinion or content of substance. What makes writing good? Who really cares? Strive for substantive content and consistency.
As a published author, one of the questions I'm often asked by my coaching clients and pro authors is how I master the art of writing and does it essentially take a genius to be one? People frequently equate composing content with Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe's level of skill or talent. The truth of the matter is writing is merely a story, however dramatic or frightening, told in our own words, using our own imagination or verifiable facts.
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” ~Gloria Steinem
Technology finds us in a place where writing, blogging, even getting published has increasingly become easier and even more valuable. Every person who reads a piece of literature, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, has their opinion of what they consider to be good writing. It's a preference and not a standard. The multitude of opinions on what makes writing "good" really depends on the person you ask.
When you ask them, however; about creating content with substance, what I and many others in the industry refer to as "mastering the art of writing".
Practice DOES make perfect
How do you know if you are good at something if you never even try to do it? It's like cooking. Do you know you are a bad cook or do you just assume you are because you never tried to do it?
I hated writing. In high school, college, and even as I sat down to write my first book. Weird thing to say for an author/writer I know, but it's true. I hated the process of it. Trying to get all my jumbled thoughts organized in a cohesive manner sent me into a Ben & Jerry's coma on many occasions. I learned to love my God-given talents when I took the time to understand, appreciate and perfect it. I couldn't have done that without falling in love with the process first.
I recommend you get a journal or create a virtual notepad on your computer. Write! Longhand or type, it doesn't matter. Get it out of your head and on "paper". You can't win the race if you don't even lace up. Make sure you commit to it consistently, just like a good brushing, skincare or physical fitness routine.
You will see me utilize this technique by publishing at least a 400-500 word blog article each day. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, will be an utter surprise to us both. I'll let my imagination, mood, and circumstances dictate what we publish for the day. Don't you love the proverbial, "we"?
Don't make a bunch of lists. Don't tell everyone you are going to write, don't Tweet out every day about writing. None of that is writing. Writing is writing!!!! #JustDoIt
"Get a journal or create one on your computer. Write! Long hand or type, it doesn't matter. Get it out of your head and on "paper". You can't win the race if you don't even lace up." ~L. Renee' Chubb
I cannot stress this point enough. It is perfectly acceptable to study authors for inspiration or learning a new genre technique. The ultimate goal at the end of the day is to use what you learn to find your own voice. If you don't know to find your writing voice, stay tuned to this blog for more articles on the topic.
Keep in mind, people who read your writing want to read it to hear you, not J.K. Rawlings or Toni Morrison. If people wanted to read either of them, they could easily find a Harry Potter or How Stella Got Her Groove Back at any local library. Don't be alarmed if this is something you don't get down pat right away. I've published 4 books, hundreds of articles in online publications and magazines and am working on a fiction novel, and I still have trouble grasping this at times.
You can feel in your gut when you re-read what you have written if it sounds like you or someone else. Pay attention to your own inner voice and use it to rewrite the parts that veer off course. #StayWOKE
"Be you. Don't try to write like another author to sell books. When you come from a place of authenticity, your fans will find YOU." ~L. Renee' Chubb
I don't want to offend anyone, but as I mentioned earlier, writing was not what I envisioned myself doing in 2020, the year of our Lord and Savior. I highly encourage you, if writing is your passion and you want to make a career out of it. You have to take care of it, feed it, give it rest, love it and even hate it. As I have learned to do over the years.
Get a support group that will help you in your journey. Friends and family support is extremely important. Especially when it comes to having that environment you need to be creative. Whatever that looks like for you.
"Get out of your own head and keep going. No two days are going to be the same. Embrace it as a new adventure." ~L. Renee' Chubb
The difference between a diary keeper and a published author is all in the effort.
Act like you have some sense
I know I don't need to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway.
Aside from learning grammar, you need to learn the different standards of writing, especially, if you plan on writing for any print or online publications. You can purchase MLA, APA, style books directly on their website. I suggest the AP Stylebook for those of you interested in becoming a freelance or contracted journalist. The point here is, everyone has something to say. That doesn't mean it needs to be 'said'. If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to take your writing seriously as well.
I use Udemy.com, Youtube, and Allison Courses online to keep my skills and writing relevant plus competitive in today's fierce literary market. Commit to learning one new skill a month and then putting it into practice in your daily writing. If you want to take a free course from me, you can learn how to be a High-End Blogger. Visit our website here: www.wokeauthorzone.com/book-online.
"If you are going to be a professional writer, then learn how to write and not just 'speak' to be talking." ~L. Renee' Chubb
Always aspire to write substantiative content, as we discussed and not just good content. We are all learning each and every day as writers. The point is not to just happen upon authorship, but to actually be one and understand what that responsibility entails.
Crawl before you walk
Learn from my experience. I did it backward. Instead of starting a blog, and writing for print and online publications, I self-published. I'm not saying it's wrong, I just would have had a different level and time frame for success, had I done it the way I'm teaching you, and how I teach my clients.
Start with something you can manage. Don't try writing an entire novel if you have been out of practice, are just starting up or are changing genres. The likelihood of success, which I learned the hard way, is painful and oftentimes hard to recover from.
"If you haven't written since high school. Pump your brakes and get you a journal, a niche, and a blog. Crawl before you walk. Stumbling will get you pushed down in this industry." ~L. Renee' Chubb
You are not going to feel like writing every single day. That's ok. I truly don't. Some days I just to play with my Cane Korso and call it a day, but I know that in order to grow my following and put out substantiative content, I must...go...on! UGH!
I have to be honest though, once I start, it's like I can't stop. I've had my husband think I'm having an online affair, that's how much time I spend writing. You also need to get into this practice to maintain a readership and following. People's attention span has shortened over the years. You have to be able to capture their attention, and keep it.
Publishing once a year, or keeping everything in your head won't cut it. I suggest you take some online exercises for writing prompts, and procrastination if that's something you struggle with. I can also provide assistance to you on that at www.whostolemycarkeys.com.
"If you are a serial quitter, meaning you start things because they excite you, but quit when the actual work time comes. You're not going to make it as a writer. Quit quitting. Write, Write, instead." ~L. Renee' Chubb
Once you have a completely edited manuscript, that is more than just "good", it's time to start putting the word out. Yep. That means you have to sell yourself and your work. You don't just write a book and the publishing fairy comes down with her magic pen and you're Paul Shelton, from Misery. It doesn't work that way in the real world.
Oh, how I wish it did. Wouldn't it be great to leave a crumpled page of your manuscript under the pillow and get a replacement by the Publishing fairy by morning?
In all seriousness, you have to learn to create a query letter to publishers. It is essentially your story and sales pitch all rolled into one cohesive and compelling letter. Marketing your book is the next phase of the process and should not be taken lightly. If you can afford to hire a marketing person, do so. Interns are also a great way to help you market yourself. I did virtual and brick and mortar book tours, with minimal effort on my part. Just a few coins.
If you need help coming up with a query letter, feel free to join our mailing list and get notified about new tips and content.
"Authors not only sell books, but they also sell themselves. Be prepared to hear no, but never be afraid to at least ask the question." ~L. Renee' Chubb
Do you want to add any tips? Feel free to drop them in the comments below and let me know what topic you would like to see covered next.
My W.O.K.E. Author Zone is a safe, judgment-free zone for women to express their views, opinions, stories, and successes. I offer coaching and consultations for new authors to help them get published and promoted, as well as provide a newsletter and blog articles daily for improving your writing.
I have helped countless authors hone their craft, start creating a portfolio, empower themselves and eventually find paid jobs, where no compensation was given prior.
Keep writing! Ask me how I can help you succeed!
L. RENEE' CHUBB