creative writing

The Written Word is Read by Someone

Writing is the act of communicating thoughts into words of meaning. When written, someone somewhere will read the words.

To some writers, this could be scary. Even if the reader is only the writer, such as in a diary. They may hold back from writing what they wanted to write. I do not know of any solution other than to push back the scariness by taking one step at a time and try not to fall. If you tumble down the stairs, start climbing again. The stairs aren’t going anywhere.

For other writers it is exciting that an unknown number of people will read what they thought. Whereas before the writer holds back, the excited writer holds nothing back. Sometimes, not everything needs to be published.

I find it important to understand that a writer, like myself, can be scared of their words and at other times excited. Maybe more of one than the other. In either case, I will write and develop my thoughts into words of meaning. Then they can be read by someone somewhere.

Three Phases of the Self-Published Book

So as not to leave anyone in suspense, the three phases are: (1) writing a book, (2) publishing it, and (3) marketing. I discovered (like everyone else) that each phase requires vastly different expertise.

Also, each expertise can be used only for that phase which makes things even more troublesome. What I learned from writing my novel I could not apply to publishing it nor marketing my book. I had to learn three different processes for the hope of someone to read what I wrote.

There are a lot of resources to help authors with each phase and a lot of opinions about how to be successful at each one. All this information is too much and can be overwhelming. What is useful depends on each author’s book.

No one writes the same one. Each book is unique and it is hard to choose what information is useful.

What is working for me is completing each phase before moving on to the next. I did all I could to finish my novel and dove into publishing my product without looking back. Now that my novel is available, I’m stumbling around in the marketing field trying to get people to buy it.

Each phase was difficult and I won’t go back to a previous phase. It may be stubbornness or laziness. It just seems like a lot of work to go back to editing or re-publishing. Besides, it was a lot of work getting out of each phase that I don’t want to repeat.

All these phases should not discourage a writer from beginning this journey. Just realize that it will take a little work, a change of thinking when in each phase, and that many authors succeed. The end result is worth the trip.

Writing Something Different

After publishing my novel, I went back to writing short stories for a brief time. I’m doing this to help my creativity.

Writing a novel takes most people a long time. During this time, the writer can become immersed in the story, plot, and characters. Also, many writers go on to the next novel that is a sequel to what they just finished. This is all good, but I found it useful to get involved in other creative stuff that is different from what I had been working on.

A long time ago in the pre-self-publishing era, the way to be recognized by an agent was to publish short stories. This built up the author’s resume that supposedly impressed people in the publishing industry. Now, “likes” and followers are more important. Yet, writing short stories has many benefits.

It’s a good exercise that forces the writer to get to the point and make each word count. Much like writing a scene in a novel, except the short story has a beginning, middle, and end.

On the other side, if a writer goes for short stories all the time, there should be a novel in one of them. Also, if a writer writes essays all the time, why not publish a nonfiction book and vice versa? I find another different way to be creative is writing grants.

If your writing seems in a rut, write in a different style, genre, or just anything than what you are writing.

I think creativity needs diversity. The writer needs to write other things than the same thing.

Don’t you agree?

Two and a Half Ways to Plan a Story

Pantsers* write a story with only a general thought of how their story should go. On the opposite side are plotters who outline their story, sometimes in detail. I think most writers are half way between these two and use both techniques to craft their story based on how they write.

When starting off, most writers have been thinking about what they will write for some time. They have at least thought up the primary characters and a plot. It’s at this stage, before writing, they are a pantser and a plotter at the same time.

For a pantser to begin writing their story, they need to structure it at least in their mind. For a plotter to outline their story, they need to discover it by writing out the scenes. Therefore, writers are both a pantser and a plotter. It’s how they apply these techniques that makes the difference.

A pantser will have something in their head to follow. A plotter will have something written to follow. They both follow a plan to tell their story.

I’m a half way writer. I have it in my head how I want the story to go and I write a few pages. Then, I write the ending. That way I know where I’m going, even if I end up somewhere else. When finished, I summarize each chapter in a kind of outline. This is so I can remember who did what before I start my edits.

Really, in the end it only matters that the story gets written.

* Some pantzers prefer to be called discoverers.

P.S. My book High School Rocket Science (For Extraterrestrial Use Only) is now self-published as an ebook and in print. Yeah!