The Writing Coach

The Craft of Writing: On Becoming A Writer

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’d always wanted to be a writer—even when I was a little kid writing scripts for my puppets to perform for my third-grade class.  I loved books, and I loved the feeling of  a pencil in my hand.  In the late 50s—an era when  prolific writer, Evan Hunter, was turning out novel after novel—I’d lurk in the “H” section of my small-town library’s fiction stacks, surreptitiously holding a finger over the final letter of Hunter’s first name.  Hold a finger over the “n”  in ” Evan,” and Voila! A book written by EVA Hunter!

Between the ages of 18 and 45, I must have begun writing a dozen novels.  I completed none.  Consistently, my excuse was that I hadn’t  quite found the right plot-device to sustain the story.  So I spent over 20 years assuring myself that someday I’d really write that novel.

I’d probably still be beginning to write books I’d never complete, if I hadn’t discovered what every professional writer knows:  Writing isn’t just letting the words flow from your fingers.  Writing isn’t producing page after page of words, trusting that the story will eventually reveal itself.

Writing is a specific process of craft.

There are formulas, standards, protocols for everything successfully published, and professional writers know and use these formulas.  In the next several weeks, I’m going to acquaint you with these approaches—the “secrets” of professional publication.

So, writing step number one is this:  Define what you want to say to the world, and put it in a sentence to be displayed in your writing area. Easy, right?  Yet 99% of the writers who come into my workshops have failed to clarify, even to themselves, what they are trying to say.  These are the first questions we answer:  What’s the point?  What’s the universal application?  And:  Who cares?

And that’s where we’ll begin next week.


Writing Quote of the Week

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 at 12:14 pm

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between the lightening bug and the lightening.”–Samuel Clemens

Writing Classes and Writing Coaches

In Learning to Write on March 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

What does it take to break in to professional writing? That’s the big question isn’t it? When I ask participants of my writing classes and seminars this question, these are their answers: (a) a good idea; (b) an agent; (c) a “contact” in a big publishing house; (d) perseverance. What would your answer be?

Here’s my answer, and there’s only one answer as far as I’m concerned: absolutely perfected, professional writing skills. Writing skills. Let me say that again: Writing skills.

That’s what this blog is primarily about. I’ll do other things with it–like give you a book recommendation or a reading list. I’ll even have entries from other people about the business, the craft, and the art of writing. But primarily you’ll be hearing from me about the craft of writing. Stick with me, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about becoming a professional writer.

I’ll be writing a weekly column about the craft of writing, and–after this week–if you miss any, you’ll find them in the “Learning to Write” category. The first column starts now, in the left-hand column!