Saturday, August 12, 2006

to write fair and labour'd much ... — Hamlet

Below is a copy of a column I wrote at work several months ago. It was the first in a series on writing. I might add a few more of them here in the future.

If you want to be a writer, write

It seems everyone today wants to write a book, or at least they have an idea for a book. Many seem to think writing a novel is easy; you just make up the ideas and write.
And with the variety of publishing avenues available, more and more people are having their books published. Not only are there traditional book publishers and magazines, but there are also subsidy publishers, vanity presses, print on demand (POD) services, ebooks, ezines, the Internet and more. Technology has opened up the world of publishing so nearly anyone can get a book published.
The problem with all this is it takes work.
Writers frequently hear, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a book.” This is sometimes followed up with, “How about I tell you my idea and you write the book. We can split the profits.”
As if coming up with ideas is the hard part. Ideas are easy. It’s the writing that’s hard.
Don’t believe me? Think of a story idea, anything really, then sit down in front of a keyboard and type out two thousand words of your story. How long did it take you? Half an hour? An hour? Longer?
Still think writing is easy? If so, write two thousand more words tomorrow. Then do it again the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. No excuses are allowed. You can’t put off the writing because you have bills to pay, pets to feed or family with whom you need to spend time. You can’t even put off the writing because you have a full-time job.
You’ll soon find out how difficult and tiring writing can be, but eventually your writing will improve. But you’re only getting started. You still have editing and rewriting to do, then you have to find an agent or an editor who will be interested in your work.
The Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 A.D.) said, “If you want to be a writer, write.” He had a point.
What I’ve been reading: “Sages & Swords,” edited by Daniel E. Blackston from Pitch-Black Books. This anthology not only offers an entertaining collection of fantasy short stories, but it also includes solid information for beginning fantasy writers and includes an interview with author R.A. Salvatore. Find out more at

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