Thursday, June 7, 2012
Write Like A Pro
I recently had a conversation with an extremely imaginative young man, who had his series of four books outlined and sub-outlined, with character assessments on his protagonist and antagonist. His descriptions of the plot and the sub-plots were fascinating and he read the first two chapters to me. It was engrossing. And then I asked him:
"Do you write every day?"
"No, if I did, I'd probably have at least the first book finished!"
His answer saddened me. Because his dream of finishing this series of books was waiting on the right mood, inspiration, or whatever else it takes to get a few pages beat out at the computer. It was the sign of an amateur. Not that we should all quit our day jobs and spend the day before the keyboard, but by creating that time to hone our craft, things start to happen. Stories get finished, where before they would sit and gather cyberdust.
If you want to write like a professional, you will tackle that manuscript head on every day (except for designated days off) and stick to that schedule no matter what. Personally, my goal is to write 1000 words a day. That doesn't mean you write schlock when you are stuck, it means that you can do the research writing, or write in your journal until you are unblocked. But whatever you do, make sure that it's writing.
There's something about writing that ensures you that you'll be able to write more. The creative process needs that consistent flow of words, or if you're an artist, the continual drawing. And, you'll discover as you write more and more, your craft becomes better and better. You develop your own style and are more sure of yourself. Your attitude towards your craft changes. All these things add up to professionalism.
Acting like a professional by sticking to a schedule is the first step to writing like a pro. I'll talk about other things you can do later. It's good to work on one task at a time. If you are already writing everyday, give yourself a pat on the back and then ask yourself: What else am I doing to write like a pro? And then share it with us so we can all learn for your experiences, okay?