Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Become a Writer in 30 Easy Steps

Lately, many people have asked me how I do it.  How do I write, balance work and home life all so effortlessly?  Okay, nobody has actually asked me that, but I'm sure you're dying to know how to become a semi mediocre writer, right?  I know it seems highly interesting and glamorous but I am here to tell you that it is indeed quite the opposite.  I have compiled a list of things that I find helpful in the writing process. 

1.  Put the kids to bed.  This only applies, obviously, if you actually have children.  It also only applies if they live with you and you are the adult in charge of such things.  In my house, I am the one who herds them to bed each night.  Children can greatly impact the creative process.  While, they provide a great resource for ideas and material to write about, they also prohibit actual writing.  They are highly distracting and provide many, many reasons and excuses for you not to write.  Don't let them stand in the way.  Have your fun time and then put them suckers to bed. 

2.  Get the necessary electronics ready.   For me, I use my laptop, Kindle and phone.  I write on the laptop, stream music and/or read the Kindle and text the proper sources as I write.  Sounds confusing, I know, but follow me here.  As I write, sometimes, I need an extra perspective or idea, in which case I will text a friend or relative.  My laptop isn't necessarily fast, so I can't stream music effectively from there and write at the same time, so I use the Kindle to stream music.  Music is an absolute necessity. Additionally, I usually have a book going on the Kindle, in case I need a break or inspiration. While on the laptop, I generally have about 5 tabs open, all crucial to the creative process.

3.  Brainstorm ideas.  This part is easier said than done.  I reference my writer's notebook which I carry with me at all times to jot down ideas and inspiration as it arises.  Sometimes, if I don't know exactly what I want to write, I go to the notebook.  Right now, I have about 9 different things that I want to write about but it all depends on the day and my mood.  Sometimes I'm not in the mood to write a serious piece.  Sometimes I'm not in the mood to write something funny.  Sometimes, I look at the notebook, scrap all the ideas and just start free styling it. 

4.  Start writing.  I usually don't give my pieces a title until I am completely finished writing.  I might put a generic working title just to save it as a draft.  *Note*  I hardly ever start and finish a piece in one sitting.  Generally, I write for about 20-25 minutes and walk away.  Usually to get snacks, a drink or read.  Sometimes, I get ADD and clean something, but that rarely happens, so don't get too excited Dalai Dad!  Some pieces have taken me several weeks to write.  Sometimes, I come back to a piece and completely scrap it because I realize it's crap and I start over.  Sometimes, I get off track and the writing goes in a completely different direction than I had originally anticipated, kind of like this one is so far.  This is more of what I was thinking it would turn out like:

5.  Get off track looking at Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.

6.  Get back to the writing.  Write a few sentences and realize you were going to read a link that you saw earlier on your favorite blog. Go there and choke-laugh at how brilliant they are and realize how lame my post is.  Hmph.

7.  Go look up how to be a good writer and get distracted by reading something you saw on Huffington Post.

8.  Pull yourself back to the writing.

9.  Wait, is it effect or affect?  Google that.

10.  Oh, just got a Facebook notification.  Got to check that out. 
11.  Look at what is new on Facebook since you were last on 20 minutes ago.

12.  Find an interesting link on making a tasty casserole.  Cruise that blog drooling at all the other recipes. 

13.  Hmmmm.  Feeling a little peckish.  Go forage for a snack.  Oh, cookies!

14.  Eat half a package of cookies.

15.  Ok, seriously, back to the writing.  Gaining steam, add several more important points to the piece and polish off the editing.  Brush the cookie crumbs off your lap and close up shop for the night. 

16.  Don't publish it yet!  Wait a few days and come back to it.  Give it time to marinate.

17.  Next day.... obsess over the piece.  Agonize over the phrasing you used.  Think of a metaphor for that one part.  Oh, that's good, write that down!

18.  Two days later..... Regret eating the cookies because now you're out of cookies and who can write without cookies?

19.  Four days later.....edit and revise.  Critique that sucker like it's going on the front page of the NY Times.  Read it 982 times and obsess over the same commas and sentence structures every time.  Change it, rearrange it.  And then change it back because it was right the first time.  Trust your gut.  Yeah, your gut.  Damn cookies.

20.  Agonize over whether or not you really want to publish it.  Will they like it?  Does it make you seem like an idiot or asshole? 

21.  Scavenge for some peanut M&Ms or Junior Mints to mull it over.  Chewing helps you think.

22.  Read it 15 more times and finally decide that the piece is brilliant and screw them if they don't like it.  Hit the publish button.

23.  Ferociously shove peanut M&Ms in your mouth as you watch the analytics tell you how many people haven't read it yet.

24.  Oh, three people!  Three people read it.  That's probably your mom, a faithful friend that follows because they feel they have to and probably your own click.  Oh well, it's three, right?!

25.  Decide to check out the book you're currently reading, social media or watch TV, checking your account every 15 minutes for comments, likes or (dare I say) shares. 

26.  After a few days, decide that writing is not really worth the time and effort so you decide not to do it anymore.  Nobody really reads it anyways, right?

27.  Three days later, run into an old friend at the grocery store and they mention how much they love reading the blog.  "Such great things there.  I feel the same way.  Very insightful, thanks I needed that, Dalai Mama," they say.

28.  Smile and say thanks.  Tell your heart to settle down and fist bump yourself for being awesome.

29.  Decide that it's not a waste of time and reassure yourself that people do enjoy your writing.

30.  Start planning your next piece. 

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  1. Hahaha! I have been trying to write for the past hour, have a draft started, but have: redesigned my cover, checked out new followers on twitter, check out FB, upload new logo, look for some clipart, visit your blog... *LOL* Love it! I'll be following! (hope you write something!)

  2. Between the social media, snacks and formatting issues, I'm lucky if I ever finish anything! You and I sound alike in our processes. Thanks for reading.