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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG July, Lessons Learned

It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read posts from other members, click here.

This month’s optional IWSG question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Hmmm, since I’m feeling generous today, how about four?

You don’t get to call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Write, regularly and often. Even if it is only for fifteen minutes a day, find a way. Five days a week I get up an hour earlier than I need to and write or edit. I write on weekends, too. It has become such a habit that when I can’t do it for some reason, I get twitchy. As with everything in life, improvement comes with practice. Comparing what I wrote eight years ago when I started my morning habit and what I produce now, there are measurable gains.

Read with a writer’s eye. Take the time to discover through other writers what works, what doesn’t, and what resonates with you. There is so much beautiful writing out there. The more we expose ourselves to it, the stronger we become at our craft. 

We are on our own timelines. Since I’ve started writing seriously, I’ve seen other writers publish book after book. Of course, I wanted my earlier projects published. I even queried agents, rushing it because I didn’t want to be left behind. But the truth was, I needed more practice, to expose myself to things that helped me learn, to challenge myself to dig deep. In other words, I had to do the hard stuff. 

And this leads to my next point, in which I quote from one of my recent blog posts:

It takes as long as it takes. Do you want to be known for being published, or for publishing something good? If you have one iota of thought that something isn’t right with your essay, article, novel, what have you, then, it’s not. Take the time to fix it. The internet is a scary place. Unforgivable really. Whether you publish traditionally or online, your work is going to be OUT THERE.  How will you feel five, ten, twenty years from now, if a poorly written piece with your name on it continues to surface?

And there you have it. Writing truths that work for me. Hope you are enjoying all that’s magnificent about summer.