Baby steps towards becoming a “Writer” with a capital W.
I’m going to be published for the first time. One of my short stories (you can read it here) was accepted by a local literary journal and will be hitting shops (that’s just about a plural) in April. Discounting the time a horribly embarrassing agony aunt letter appeared in Mizz Magazine and the time a 6-year old me self-published (stapled some pages together) my first book, my words have never appeared in such a tangible, public form.
It’s exciting. If you’re a writer, you’ll know that validation isn’t essential but that it does feel quite nice. It’s a boost.
This was one of the first short stories I’d ever written (I wouldn’t consider it my most comfortable form) and was the first time I’d submitted something for publishing consideration. Having it accepted has encouraged me to submit more stuff, take more chances. It’s made me realise that publication isn’t necessarily for “others”, it can be something achievable for me too.
Script Frenzy, the little brother of NanoWriMo, is fast approaching and I’ve decided to attempt it for the first time. Despite being a NanoWriMo veteran at this stage (I’m a masochist), I had never considered trying screenwriting. Again, it was “other”. Something other people did.
I think one of the most important things you can do as a writer is force yourself outside of your comfort zone. Never wrote poetry before? Why not try it? You could be the next Yeats. Try a genre you’re uncomfortable with (for me, it would be sci-fi) and give it a go. So what if it’s bad? It might inspire you in other ways.
To sum things up, I think writing is a vocation for some people. They couldn’t stop if they wanted to. For others, it’s just a job. (And it shows). Good writing is extremely subjective.One of the saddest things people say is “I would love to write a book one day…but I could never do it”. I’ve even had these people come to me with their ideas and ask me to write their books for them. I could never do it as much justice as they would; it’s their story.
Keep writing. Celebrate the victories. Improve on the losses. Don’t force yourself to write like someone else, be the person so unique that people want to imitate you.
A fun little website to find out who you write like is I Write Like, where you copy and paste a sample of your work and it’s compared to famous writers. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t store or save your work).
I write most like Cory Doctorow, British-Canadian blogger, journalist, copyright liberalisation activist and sci-fi author (the irony is strong in this one).