Friday, March 19, 2010

5 No-Cost Steps to Begin Your Journey as a Writer: Part Five

Okay, here it is.  You've gotten yourself a journal and practiced writing in it unabashedly.  You've been reading all the Masters from the library and asking for your favorites as gifts.  You have started a blog and have been writing consistently-you've most certainly made some friends and picked up some followers.  You joined a writer's group and actually asked people to critique your work!

The last step you need to take before you have 100% launched into your journey as a Writer is the simplest and sweetest step of all. 

Take some time off and go write.  

Take a well-day off from work, immerse yourself in the catacombs of a large library and write for hours.  Hungry? Take a stroll, find a place to eat, take out your notebook and write while you eat and when you're done, head back to the library.

Can't afford some time off from work?  Family depending on you?  Hire a babysitter.  Not for date-night, not for guys-night-out, not for doing your hair, not for shooting hoops-but only for writing.  Oh man, you're going to love this.  When you're at a late-night coffee shop, or taking up an entire booth at Denny's or 13 Coins, it's going to be one of the best experiences for you of your life.

Just make sure you resist the urge to read-that's easy, and in this case it's also cheating.  I can't tell you how many times I've said I'm going to write, and instead spent hours reading "How to Write" books.  Don't even tempt yourself-leave all reading material behind!

If you are lucky enough--and not really lucky, but determined enough, go all the way and immerse yourself in a writer's retreat, or writer's colony.

I have an artist friend who has made a choice to completely forgo the Holiday madness-this is now her time to get away to recoup, to bond anew with her muse.  One or two weeks in semi-isolation with her paints and canvases, and that's what gets her through the rest of the year.  The same thing applies to us writers.

There is something about physically removing ourselves from our daily routine of work, bills, family, relationships--separating from our "normal" selves, that is uniquely empowering and tremendously inspiring.  At first, it's difficult to release our "other" self, and that's why a week or so away can be so rewarding. 

However, if it's not possible, just make sure you take those couple hours, or well-days off regularly.  With practice, you will be able to connect with your muse more easily in short periods of time.  You'll learn to leave the "other" you at home as soon as you walk out the door.

So go out there, with your notebook, or your MacBook, and play the part!  Because really, you're not playing anymore.  After following these five steps consciously and proudly, you have become a bonafide writer-Congratulations!

Many more people respect you for following your passion than you think.  Just make sure you respect yourself as a writer and continue to follow these steps over and over again until they are second nature--a natural part of your being.

Thanks, this has been fun-I wish you'd let me know when you try these steps.  What works for you? what do you get hung up on? How was that first Writer's Retreat?

I can't wait to hear about your experiences!


  1. Hola Niki!
    My wrtiting has been like a rollercoaster - I have several projects at the same time, but am truly trying to focus more on one in particular. read your five steps, and am writing as much as I can.

    I've been thinking about the step where you discuss blogging - building a network. And I think this step is the toughest for me. The genres I write are very different from each other - but the core topic is always the same : Identity. And this is the topic I want to discuss most in my blog, although I very recently started blogging seriously with a particular goal and voice. It's great to find blogs like yours!


  2. Hi Jen, you're so right, it is hard to manage so many different projects and also build a strong network. But little, by little if we stay focused on that goal it starts to happen.

    I have a lot of great Q&As and guest posts lined up for advice about this exact theme, so stay tuned!

    And if you ever have a subject you want to learn more about, let me know and I'll create a post with some expert advice about it. good luck & keep writing!


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