Monday, December 14, 2009

"How Do You Know You're a Writer?" by Michele Ashman Bell

Writers are strange and bizarre people. I've been doing some research to figure out the qualities writer's possess and decided to share my checklist with you. Feel free to add or even debate any of the qualities listed. That's what writers do . . . question and re-write.

1. Imagination. Truth is stranger than fiction, but an author knows how to take a nugget of truth or inspiration, and spend months turning it into a story. Ideas are the seeds, but imagination is what makes them grow.

2. Observation. People ask me where I get my ideas from. I tell them . . . everywhere! A writer is continually watching people and gleaning ideas from things they see, hear and read. I also tell people to be careful what they tell me, it might end up in one of my books!

3. Discipline. Don't think that writers are always so full of inspiration that they can hardly wait to write. Sometimes it's pure heck and frustration to sit and write. The key though is to do it regularly, whether you feel inspired or not. Sticking to a writing schedule is crucial for a writer.

4. Perseverance. He who gives up, loses. It's not about talent, it's not about luck, it's about hard work and never giving up. Plain and simple.

5. A love of words. Finding the right way to say what's in your heart is truly magic. Nothing brings more joy to a writer than to read something you've written and think, "I don't even remember writing that," or be surprised that it's actually pretty good! (Wish that happened more often.) Writing till you say it just the right way, to express the action or emotion is pure bliss!

6. Passion. It's important that you feel passionate about your project, whatever it may be. Your goal is to share what's in your heart because when you do, the reader feels it in his heart. This is probably the most magical part of writing.

7. Humility. Writers are always trying to learn and grow and improve their craft. We also spend a great deal of time doing rewrites and revisions. Believe me, this will keep you humble.

8. Having a finger on the pulse of what's going on in the world. The luxury of writing for the sake of writing doesn't really exist, for the most part. Writers have to be aware of market trends, hot sellers, shifts in readers interest, etc . . . Write what's in your heart, but make sure there's a market for it.

9. Thick skin. You will never, ever please everyone. Some people will love your work. Some will hate it. Don't take it personal.

10. You can't not write. Whether I ever got published or not, I would always write. It's how my brain works. It's what I do.

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings. I can take it.