Today I will answer a question found on the Discussion Forum.
Help! *`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ The first line won’t come and I sit and stare at the blank screen!
Alice: `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
Cheshire Cat: ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to’
Alice: `I don’t much care where–‘
Cheshire Cat:`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go’
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll
Now, most would advise this writer to just write anything to get some words up there. Even if it’s ‘I want to write but can’t think of anything!’ about a hundred times. That’s supposed to unblock the imagination so the story hidden deep inside can come out. I’m not going to say that. I’ve tried that logic, but found it got in the way of procrastinating so I don’t advise it anymore. Procrastination is a good thing, and we should learn to appreciate it more. It’s been getting a bum rap for too long.
You’ve decided to join a writing workshop to show your work and hone your skills. You’ve read in the ad’s that, ‘members read and give constructive reviews,’ and you definitely want to be read! But did you quit reading before the end of the sentence?
With excitement you think: “Will anybody read it? Will they like it?” Then, you take the plunge and, Merry Christmas! It was read! And it was critiqued. Oops.
Many people write for fun only and are content to be called amateurs. Even amateurs should aspire to write the right way, and that is where I stand at this moment.
Today’s internet opens the doors to e-magazines, blogs, and web sites to help writers get started. Online writing groups allow you to post your writing and receive feedback on it. Honest feedback will help you learn what you don’t know, so be sure the group is made up of writers of different skill levels. In other words, at least a few should have more skill than you have.
Do you dream of becoming a published author?
Do you want it more than anything and willing to set aside your ego and work for success? That’s the huge first step that I’m still wrestling with.
The next step is finding out what you don’t know, and practicing with all your heart to learn the craft of writing. There are rules that can be broken only after you learn to use them correctly; there are rules that can never be broken, and they are important. I’m finding out those things I don’t know, but it’s a slow go. One of those things is finding that my biggest fear in writing is posting my work publicly.
It’s the rockiest path I’ve ever tried to walk.
Books – new or used? I vote for used – preferably paperbacks.
I’ve always loved to read and have done a lot of it through the years. I’ve had a library card since I was six-years old. I love going to the library and browsing through the shelves. The problem is, now that I have grand-kids visiting, they want to feel and touch everything. Sticky fingers leave marks on my borrowed books and libraries don’t like that. And forget about wiping their hands first, they’re too fast! Kids can shoot in, fall into my lap (and book) and shoot back out quicker than I can blink now-a-days. Wait-it gets better!
I like cheap, the cheaper the better. I use yard sales and thrift shops a lot.
As young parents with little money, we learned to make-do, to get along with what we had. I have completely furnished a two-bedroom house for fifty dollars, and it looked good. My husband painted and re-glued while I cleaned and polished. Authentic old furniture magically appeared as antiques to friends and family. They eyed it greedily and we glowed.
Our house was always filled with a passel of kids, so nicks and scrapes were common to our furniture. I didn’t stress over them because I knew furniture was replaceable. And cheap. Another bonus is that old furniture was better made than the new, lower-end stuff. I’ve owned both and believe me, low-priced new furniture is pure junk! You’re wasting your money.
As the children grew older and our finances improved, we bought new stuff and it was nice, but we didn’t enjoy it as much. Is that strange? Not to me. (more…)