I had always dabbled in poetry, had my first poem published in my high school paper. But it had never crossed my mind to write anything else. For one I was busy living life, then raising kids, working, and for another, my handwriting sucks! I didn’t get bitten by the writing bug until my husband and I got together–he’s a geek–and a computer became a necessary part of my household for the first time. I thought, what the heck? I can type, why not tell the story of that crazy dream I couldn’t get out of my head? The one about the talking Iguana who ate the family Daschund.
Before I started, I went to the library and got two or three of the books on writing I listed in a previous post. And I was hooked. I had found my calling, and I still wonder what took me so long. The passion those authors felt for their craft was palpable, and infectious, the guidance they offered priceless. I knew in my bones that I could write, I had a poet’s heart, after all.
I read every book I listed for you in another post. It’s my opinion that no one should even attempt to be a writer until they have read most of those books. And no, they can’t give you talent if you don’t already possess it, but there are so MANY things a writer needs to know, I can’t imagine a person sitting down without some kind of training and writing a great story. I’m sure there are exceptions, there are to everything, but writing takes discipline, and that’s the most important thing I feel books like this offer. Next to inspiration. Then there is the fact that if you have read the history of someone like Stephen King and how many times he was rejected when he first started, you will not become nearly as discouraged when you must deal with your own.
Some people take classes, and I suppose being in the company of other writers would be inspiring, but I don’t really feel taking a creative writing class is necessary, maybe enjoyable, and educational, but from what I’ve heard, taking a class often stifles a writer’s individuality. Bottom line, I think it’s a choice and not a requirement.
Three years after reading those books, I would consider these things the most important aspects of writing:
1. A writer is like a movie camera.
2. Use all five senses-taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight-to place the reader totally in the scene.
3. Good writing lets the reader forget they are reading.
Losing yourself in a world you create is heady stuff. And the sense of accomplishment and pride you feel when you get that first piece published is addictive, intoxicating. I have said many times since I began that I will write until they pry my bony fingers from this keyboard.