Showing posts with label being a writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label being a writer. Show all posts

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing



In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

Originally published at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2015/08/24/being-a-writer-learn-the-craft-of-writing/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

You can check out Karen’s e-classes through WOW! at:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/content-marketing-tools/

And, be sure to connect with Karen at:
Twitter http://twitter.com/KarenCV
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/KarenCioffi/

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Never too Old to Learn New Tricks to Help Your Writing Soar



I am a great believer that we as writers are never too old to learn new tricks to make our writing and our careers soar. That being said I am also aware that some of those "new" tricks may be more difficult for some.

Those same skills that are a must for promoting our work can be absolutely maddening for writers who rather write than do any more techie things needed to connect to outsiders, yet those outsiders are our audience and buy our writing.

I have struggled myself with many fears about the techie world... some days it is a challenge to just open a Google document or sign a contract with an E-signature. I recognize that I needed some added encouragement and instruction so I am taking a course with Julie Foster Hedlund on How to Make Money as a Writer which I am hoping will ease some of my fears about the technical word of promotion and maybe my also fear of success. I need to continue to learn.

Here are  easy tips to get over the fear of technology and get on with the business of writing.

  • Educate yourself on the phases of promotion and production that you are most unfamiliar with. Take classes, on-line courses, read books on the matter, and practice.
  • Practice. This may seem elementary but if you only post to your blog once a month or to your website infrequently then it may take some time to remember how to do it. Guilty as charged. My website takes me a minute every time I go there because I let it go thinking I have nothing new to promote. Wrong. We always have something we can say at least once a week to reach our audience. Getting onto that site more frequently and taking notes helps to make adding content easier.
  • Set Goals. Setting goals will help you to be productive without the frustration. Make the goals for what you need to do or learn reasonable, for instance work on adding images or posting regularly first then go on to adding video etc,
  • Get feed back. Ask others to view what you have done to your site and give you honest feedback on how your technical additions work. Do your pages flow smoothly and are they easy to manage? Can your audience go from the home page on your site to the other pages you offer online? If not, they won't return. Ask for help if you can't get your site to do what you want. Consider paying someone more experienced to do your changes if you don't have time. And if it is E-publishing that you want, find sources that make the process run well and can take some of the pressure off of you- the writer. Many writers handle the start to finish of every e-book they write and others don't want to be bothered with some of the formatting and such. Know your limits and find others who excel in what you need assistance with.
  • Keep going. Never give up even if you feel lost in the techie world. Writing is the first and most important step to success, and the technical stuff will follow either by yourself with learning or by finding another to help.
Social media and all the technical online expectations of an author increase everyday as the audience needs to continually be entertained and engaged. Now is the time to get on board and add more spark to your self promotion and your presentation of your work. Education and practice will give your work just the boost it needs. Remember we are never too old to learn new tricks to make our writing soar.

Terri Forehand and her husband live in the hills of Brown County Indiana where they own a quilt shop. She writes for children and adults, is the author of The Cancer Prayer Book and has begun designing her own patterns with stories to match with the goal of making her writing soar. Her website is www.terriforehand.webnode.com or visit her blog at http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fight Your Censor


Intuition: that tiny voice that speaks from your gut.
Recently, I made a goal of trying to slow down and listen to my gut, listen to that voice that speaks to me about all manner of things that are good or bad for me. What have I found? The voice of intuition is much quieter that that of my writing censor.

My writer's censor is easy to hear. She comes to me loud and clear as I'm working on a first draft. Generally, she throws phases at me like: That's awful! Who would read that? That's stupid. You're not good enough!

It seems her "job" is to stop my headlong progress. It's a battle where the lines are text and I must be armored if I am to win. My censor also is present the next day, when I review my previous day's work. Once again, she gives her thoughts, none of which are positive, most are not even helpful. Sometimes she almost dares me to throw my the work away and start over.

As writers we all have that voice in our ear - the one that tells us to stop writing, that our words are not worthy. But as writers, we also have a story to tell. That story is in you, and your job is to get it down on paper. So in thinking about goals for 2013, perhaps one could be to listen to the story in you, armor yourself against your censor and get the words on paper. There will be plenty of time later to refine your work during the editing process. Fight back.

_________________________________


D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little "Sniff"


Today I’m having a “sniff” day. No, I do not have a cold or allergies. What I have is a desire to smell my way around and see what can be added to scenes.

Taking a day to focus on each of the senses creates a different way of viewing the world around us and then also gives us new insight into what we can put on the page.

A day focused on visuals might showcase the subtle changes that light makes as the sun sweeps across the sky. A day focused on sound might bring into focus the bantering of birds, or the swishing of branches in the light breeze. Of course, a day full of taste is a favorite day of the week. Already my mouth waters, as I decide what amazing meal to share. Perhaps the swordfish I had last week served over blueberries. A day of touch might find me wandering the backyard running my fingers over roses or just as likely fabric shopping.

But today is “sniff” so my nose is called to action. And away I go. I’ve pulled a book from my shelf. It has sat there for more than a year untouched and has the musty smell that reminds me of used bookstores. It is a scent that takes me immediately to an old overstuff chair that sat in the afternoon sun of my public library as a child. Even though it is “sniff” day, I can still see the dust motes that flew around me when I sat down. My dog rubs against me for some one-on-one time. I breathe deeply into her coat. Grass - that fresh scent that reminds me of days log rolling down hills. Her feet though, remind me of sweaty boy socks and that bath time might have to occur soon. It’s birthday week for my grandson, so I had was allowed to bake a chocolate cake. The smell of vanilla followed me around the rest of the afternoon and always lifts my spirits. Finally, I drew a warm bath and added lavender. What a great way to end a lovely “sniff” day.

What will you “sniff” today? 
______________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and Young Adult Science Fiction. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with her coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing


In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

The Road to Becoming an Accomplished Writer

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

~~~~~~~~~~
More on Writing

Writing Means Commitment
So, You Want to be a Writer
Improve Your Writing – Know About Sentences



Monday, April 16, 2012

Writing: A Collaborative Project

Writing for me, and for most of us, is a solitary endeavor. We sit for long hours alone and pour emotion and ideas on the page. So it is interesting to me those writers who break out and collaborate. Authors such as Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston have  written 18 books together. I had always wondered how they were able to do it. It seems counter intuitive to me, and then I had an idea for a science fiction series.

From the beginning, I knew that this was something that would require collaboration and so I found myself searching for the right-write person to work with me. I cannot remember when the idea first formed, but it was years ago. The niggling feeling of needing to write the story never left and yet, I knew somehow the end result would be incredibly better if I had a co-author. So I never started writing it.

Finally, in 2010 I was able to find that ideal person who saw my vision of the story and wanted to add her own to the mix. And mix it did. Here is what I learned in the process:

1. When a story has numerous different characters, in our case, aliens and teenagers, (okay, maybe not so different) it was beneficial to share the load creatively. Each of us took a group of characters to form and write about. In the end, though, we each could write any of them, because they'd been so well drawn by the other. I think this helped us to create so many completely unique beings. Also, the research was split and so we were able to get right to writing a bit faster.

2. As a solitary author you have complete control of your project. When you agree to take on a collaborator you must release some of that control. As a control freak, I was surprised how this was not an issue. We each listened to the others thoughts and found ways to work that allowed us each to feel in control. Not only that but we each learned things in the process.

3. Which brings me to number three. As writers we have strengths and weaknesses. Find the right collaborator and your weaknesses are helped by their strengths. This was the part I loved the most.

4. Okay, well not the "most" most. The most was that we met over coffee every Saturday morning. We gave ourselves assignments and did our best to "turn" them in on time. This was something else that was great actually. We had accountability to each other. And the coffee was delicious.

It has been two years now. The coffee shop still sees us each Saturday morning where we work on our writing for 3-5 hours together. Our first book in the series will be released this week and we are working on our second in the series. For both of us, the collaboration process has been a smooth and enjoyable process. One that, we both agree, will continue.    

________________________
As a devout reader, D. Jean Quarles spent her young years with a book in hand. Later she owned a bookstore and while writing was something she did, it wasn't until her children were grown that she completed her first women's novel. Currently she is working on a young adult science fiction series with co-author, Austine Etcheverry.

You can find her at: Her website
                                   www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com
And them both at:  The Exodus Series
                                   The Exodus Series Blog


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Journaling

Do you begin the day journaling before you begin writing? Is there some other ritual you perform before writing?

By doing so is one way to get the gunk out of your head and clear your mind for the writing at hand.

In addition, just getting the words down, then editing later is one way to create your story.

While journaling, interview your characters to make them real in your mind and learn more about them. If they are real to you and you know them well, so will you reader, and the reader will develop empathy for them as well as their life and trials in your story.

Empathy for characters in literature is what matters most for the read to become involved and having an experience with the story rather than just reading something to kill time.

As an author, we write for ourselves first, than we hope others will read us and get something from what we write. If we don’t write for ourselves first, then we are little less the writing whores, and writing for nothing more than the few bucks we can make.

As authors, we should stand for the craft and something in which we value what we do. Writing should not just be about making some money, but we should writing something to engage the read for the period of time they spend with us in our book, article, or any copy we write.

Before writing for the day, or whenever you write, journaling is a great way to clear your mind of the stuff that is rolling around from life and prepare yourself for the writing job at hand.

You should also have your ducks lined up for the writing task at hand and a clear direction to advance the storyline. Can the writing change along the way? Possibly, but that is what editing is for, to check the finder points, and make the story stronger in the editing of the words on the page.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer/Editor/Reviewer/Marketer
http://rjmedak.wordpress.com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Life as a Writer

My Life as a Writer

by Nancy Carty Lepri 

My biggest dream has always been to become an author. An avid reader since a toddler, books have been a constant, a friend and an escape. I cannot comprehend living without the written word. To me, reading is second only to breathing. From cereal boxes to fiction, I devour everything and anything I can get grab. I read in the morning while eating breakfast to at night before going to sleep. Some of my favorite genres include contemporary women’s novels and thrillers. 

I guess this love of books is what propelled me to become a writer. The fact that I am always talking, thinking and plotting does not take away from this ambition. I have a need to create and to put into words feelings, thoughts and desires. 

To me, books should present a diversion from the stresses of everyday, a way to relax and unwind. We are filled with horrors around us. Just pick up a newspaper or turn on the nightly news and realize crime is rampant. Novels can carry one away to another place, to forget, for a short time at least, all that is going on in life. Any type of reading stimulates the brain and give a change of pace. Children require fantasy and play, and adults also need a break from reality. 

An author’s career is lonely and often times tedious. Writing requires discipline and perseverance, a thick skin and the knowledge of the difficulty of getting published. For every wanna-be writer, many give up or fail. I kept trying with the burning desire to succeed, and I could not go through life wondering "what if." I needed to try. 

My first writing experience started as a freelance reporter for a small, now defunct, tabloid. Almost twenty years ago, the newspaper, “The Tightwad Times,” was introduced to southeastern Massachusetts where I had lived. I submitted two articles for each of the three months the paper was published. The first month, I was assigned to cover a bridal show and write an article on how to prepare an elegant, yet inexpensive wedding. Some other commentaries with the exception of one were written from telephone interviews. Two local Cape Cod newspapers gave me assignments for various topics, and realized this is an excellent way to get one’s feet wet as a writer. I found reporting is gratifying, but recognized this was not the type of writing I wanted to pursue. 

My goal was to write fiction. Whether creating short stories or "the great American novel," I enjoy make believe and conjuring up fictitious people and tales about their lives. Though I prefer genres geared to adults, I decided to try crafting a children’s chapter book. I first started working on this in 1995, writing by the seat of my pants. After reading the extremely rough draft, I recognized the text was a mish-mash of information haphazardly thrown together which was too much for children to digest. I broke up the ideas, planning to turn them into a four-book series. 

Unfortunately, life took over with the need to shelve the work for a while. After my husband and I moved to North Carolina, I returned to reporting, receiving several assignments for the “Wilmington Magazine” and two national and international food-trade magazines, which proved to be monetarily rewarding. 

Nevertheless, I kept returning to the children who wanted to have their story told. The desire to polish and submit the manuscript for publication. I fortunately become a member of a wonderful critique group that offered support as well as excellent suggestions. Tiny Angel, a chapter book geared to ages 8 – 12, was accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing and released in November 2009. The sequel, Tommy’s Amigo is almost completed for submission, and to this, I hope to add two to three more to this series, though all books can stand alone. 

Meanwhile, four unfinished adult contemporary novels are calling to me, and I plan to get to them one day. Between writing, reading, reviewing and being with family I enjoy a busy and fulfilling life. I may never become well-known, but my dream is satisfied. I encourage anyone who desiring to write to “just do it.” 

If you enjoyed my article, please check out my website: http://nancycl.webs.com and feel free to make a comment.

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