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Lessons From a Life of Writing

I’ve been writing for over thirty years. Although my ‘writing life’ has changed dramatically since publication, it’s by examining the entire span that I recognize some major lessons learned. Here are some things that writing has taught me:

1. If it’s important enough, you’ll make the time. We all seem to live ‘time starved’ lives, but it’s interesting to note that if its really important to you – something that you are truly passionate about – you’ll somehow make time for it.

2. Nothing worth having comes easy. This saying is especially true when it comes to writing. Writing is hard work. Few people, if any, sit down and write the next great novel or screenplay without a ton of research, rewriting and revising. It just doesn’t happen overnight. (No matter what you’ve seen in the movies.)

3. Perseverance and tenacity are a must. This is true during the writing process and afterward. Somewhere in the middle of your manuscript, you might lose interest or inspiration. Push through! There is nothing quite as gratifying as finishing that project. These lessons in perseverance will be invaluable if and when you decide to submit your work, for chances are, rejection will also be part of the equation. Which leads nicely into the next lesson…

4. Humility makes you strong in the long run. Rejection hurts. So does criticism. But both of these, when done constructively and honestly, can teach you more than any book or course. Rather than wallow in despair, take these suggestions to heart and do something about it. The saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you strong. This is absolutely true. The moment a writer thinks he or she knows it all is the moment he or she stops growing.

5. Passion supersedes perception. Ultimately, I’ve learned that I must write from my heart – the stories that I feel passionate about and in a style that I am comfortable with, not what someone else says I should write. Some might even say, write what you feel ‘called’ to write. Obviously, one has to think about audience, but not to the point of compromise. For me, this would defeat the purpose of writing entirely. I’m not in it for the fame and certainly not for the fortune. I write from a place of personal need – a need to express myself.

1 Comment

  1. William Kendall says:

    Very wise.

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