As with many things which loom in the ‘near future’ for me, my One-Year Anniversary of blogging on WordPress came and went while I was busy doing something else. Thank you for coming back regularly to check on me and read what I write! After all without you, the reader, I’d be speaking to myself!
It’s crazy how things have changed for me in the past year. Taking the advice of a friend, I started this blog not just as an alternate way to write, but also for getting my voice out there and for accountability. As of my first blog, I’d written in the neighborhood of 2,000+ words of mostly sporadic lines of my novel. Maybe a paragraph or two in places. Most of it was character building. How they related to each other. The main story conflict. The history of the story location and so on. From that first post in late June to around October last year I’d written an additional 1,500 perhaps, and re-written the same things multiple times.
It was during that time I learned my first lesson – Writing/Critique Groups are an Essential Tool for Writers of Every Level. I found my group almost a year ago, as of this post, and the value of going has been immeasurable. Reading my stuff aloud to the group has changed from me being nervous, to anxious for their feedback, in spite of the dreaded, “you’re telling, not showing,” or, “what viewpoint is this supposed to be?” I’ve said before that I love attending these meetings but I can’t stress enough how much it has helped me. Being part of a writing group is perhaps the best thing you can do.
Well, let me amend that for what goes with lesson two which is – Write Every Day. The reason I have it listed second is because I learned this lesson well during NaNoWriMo. Having that deadline forced me to allot time each day to writing and in doing so created a rhythm which my story fed off of. That November I consciously decided to push ahead, ignoring my critical-thinking side, and successfully wrote an average of 1,400 words per day. I still went deer hunting, and I missed a day or two for various reasons but alas, I reached the coveted 50,000 word mark on my novel right at the end of November. I still miss some days occasionally but now I feel the pressure building each day I DO NOT write. Like a geyser welling up inside me. It is because I write each day that my story now sits at over 62,000 words!
My third lesson learned is – Be An Avid Reader. A writing friend once said, “A good writer is a good reader.” and he’s right. I’ve always enjoyed reading and would typically read a few books per year. Having a membership on Goodreads is especially useful with this. It tracks my progress in a book I’m currently reading, and I can provide a review after. It also provides suggestions for you based on what you’ve read, and liked, and encourages you at the beginning of the year to set a reading goal for that year. I’ve crushed my goal of 10 this year and am currently on my 14th. Enjoyment aside, reading various genres has helped me
grow as a writer as well as I examine things like, how it is written, style, dialogue, and character development. Sometimes I may even discover something to use in my own writing or develop a new story idea.
So there you go. My list of three things I’ve learned in the past year of writing and blogging. True there are so many more lessons I could go on about but these are, I think, the key lessons. I believe they are ones I, and perhaps yourself, already know/knew but I had to truly experience them to rediscover their value. Plus I like keeping my blogs as short reads. Perhaps I’ll make a add-on list at a later date. How about you? What lessons do you live by in regards to your writing life? Until next time!