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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Practice, practice and more practice!

One of the tips for writers I have most frequently heard is write every day. When I started this blog I would have thought that was impossible. Like so many I struggled to find the time to do a small amount of writing let alone every day. Six months on and I have to say that it is a top piece of advice and anyone who is serious about writing really does need to take note of it. It is about getting yourself into a mindset that allows you to write. You have to force yourself to find time to write and the writing will breed more writing as your mindset allows you to spot good ideas more easily.

Pretty much everything I do now has a focus on writing - if I am not writing I am reading about writing. My social calender has turned into one that mainly involves writer's groups or writing events. The only time when writing is not involved is when I am at my part-time job but even then I get to think about what I am going to write. The truth is I love it and I think you need to have this level of obsession to even begin to contemplate it being anything more than a hobby.

If you are writing every day it means you are getting in the level of practice you need. Although having said that practising every day isn't enough you also need to learn from your practice. You need to be able to identify what you are getting right and what you need to improve on. I know, for example, grammar isn't my strong point. As I have mentioned before I am dyslexic and from the errors in this blog that may be clear! But for any submitted work I take the time to go through and check the errors I know I am prone to. There are also a whole host of errors I don't know I make but I am able to learn what they are so I can look out for them in the future. This can be the case for a lot of writers and you may need to spend time learning what your writing bad habits are so you can scan for them in the future before submitting work.

Presently I am writing some short stories for the first time in about a year. The short story is an art form in itself. I am hoping to do one or two a month over the next year and will submit them to the writing magazine subscription I have. It would be very easy to write one, submit it, never hear anything and then give up believing I am a rubbish writer. It would be a real waste to do that because it should be about refining skills. If your story doesn't get selected you need to read through it some time later and analysis why that might have been. I hope by the end of the year I may get short-listed in one of the competitions. If not, I'll have learnt lots along the way and I'll have about 24 short stories that I can fine tune and hopefully place elsewhere.

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