The Writing Life
In the 7th grade I wanted to be an architect but it turns out math is involved. Who knew? My 8th grade English teacher talked me into working on the school newspaper and I was hooked. It seemed like easy lifting compared to architecture.
This quote from newspaper columnist Russell Baker sort of sums up how I felt about writing as a career:
"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any."
Baker and I, however, soon discovered that being an adequate writer is hard work, never mind being a great writer and doing it consistently. I thought that if I could speak the mother tongue that I could be a great writer. Wrong. But thank goodness Baker and I didn't know that when we decided what we would do with our lives.
Luckily, I had a head start on the writing life. My Dad was a good example. He read all the time for pleasure, and he often read to me. My teachers drummed the fundamentals of English into me. At the time, it seemed tedious, but I now appreciate their effort. Otherwise, I would not be doing something I love and getting paid for it. Because, you see, there will always be a need for words and wordsmiths, stories and storytellers.
You have probably not been as lucky as me. How many of you routinely diagrammed sentences in grammar school English class? How many of you were drilled on the parts of speech, or on verb conjugation?
How many of you learned reading and writing through whole language instead of phonics? That's like taking a 7-year-old who has never played basketball before and putting him in a game with the UNC Tar Heels and expecting the youngster to win the game.
How many of you play sports? What sports? How did you learn how to play?
You first learned the fundamentals. In basketball, you learn to dribble, pass and shoot. You work on it in the driveway. Then, you sign up for league play and take those skills into practice where the coach begins to explain the rules of the game. Next, you play and begin to improve your skills and your understanding of the game. You practice more. You watch great players to see what they do and you try to emulate them in practice and then in games. You push yourself by playing higher caliber opponents.
The same is true of writing. Vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation are your skills. You move into the more advanced areas by learning about conjugating verbs and parts of speech. You learn the rules, and you begin to read the works of great writers to learn from them. And that is just the beginning.
Mark Twain says: "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
How many of you love to read?
Hoover's Writing Rule #1: if you don't love to read recreationally, you will never be a good writer, much less a great one.
I read religiously as a child and still do. I have to read to stay abreast of my profession and to do research for articles I am writing, but I routinely read several books a month just for pleasure.
That recreational reading helps you see the world in a different way, or make connections you would not have made otherwise. This is helpful in developing story ideas that interest someone other than yourself.
Writing is both a very public and a very private occupation. No matter what type of writing you do, you must go out and experience life before you have anything worthwhile to write about. If you are a journalist, you must be able to walk right up and talk with people you often don't know, or who have been through a tragedy. Then, you figuratively go into solitary confinement while you write. Once written, your work is placed on display for anyone to see and criticize.
So, you must understand your audience because ultimately they decide the fate of you and your writing. Writers are often more educated than their audience, but you can't let the audience know that. You must write for them, in their vernacular so that your story gets through. This is particularly true in news writing. Keep opinions and bias on the sidelines.
In feature writing, the writer gets to intrude a little more, bringing his or her personality into the story. And in fiction, you get to make up your own world.
If you love to read and love to write, then I urge you to pursue your bliss. But just remember what science fiction writer Robert Heinlein said, "writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of - but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."
Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Bank of Commerce, Brent Dees Financial Planning, Bray Law, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, VELUX and Verbatim.
8 Advantages to Writing a Book as an Entrepreneur
As an aspiring or an established entrepreneur, you are an expert in something, but does the rest of the world know? You have a wealth of information, experience and knowledge that you can package into a book that will benefit others. This truly is the information age and people want to know what you know.
Writing Requires Self-Control
The only way to become a writer is to write. That requires a great deal of self-control and dedication, not only writing when the urge is upon you, but even when it is not.
Use These 3 Editing Tips to Ensure Your Writing Hits the Bull's-Eye
The first step in the writing process is to put your ideas down on paper. Once you have text to work with, the second step is to revise what you have written to make it as clear, accurate and powerful as you can.
Writing Business Letters That Get The Job Done
Despite the widespread use of e-mail in commerce today,traditional business letters are still the main way that the majority of businesses officially communicatewith their customers and other businesses.This is especially true when businesses want to formalizean agreement or an understanding.
Could Your Book Idea Be the Next Best Seller?
Everyone has a unique story to tell. From explaining business processes to revealing our personal history, we all have a natural desire to share our experiences with the world.
Beginners Blues: How to Collect Samples, Testimonials, and References as a Freelancer
Beginner's Blues: How to Collect Samples, Testimonials, and References as a Freelancer by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and AssociatesMy samples are self-selling.
Top 5 Rules of English Grammar
Communication is effective when we follow certain rules. These rules make the written words understood.
Writing is a Discipline
If a writer considers writing to be a task, he/she is doomed to failure. Since it cannot be a task, then what is it? It is a discipline.
Why Every Freelance Writer Needs A Website
What do you mean, you don't have a website yet? Websites these days aren't just for businesses and people who want to share their obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the world. These days, websites are one of the most important tools for writers.
Looking For Good Copywriter Books?
If you are looking for copywriter books, you'll want to devote some time to reading. In fact, if you plan to look online for your copy writer resources, you might as well just devote your life to reading! There are so many books that are available for you to purchase.
Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Incremental Productivity
When attempting to understand Creativity and Innovation, it pays to import the vast range of research and knowledge that has been accumulated in these fields - most of it is to be found in the field of Business and Management.For example, Writer's Block is intimately related to Organizational Culture - the same principles that prevent people from generating ideas in the corporate workplace are also responsible for Writer's Block - evaluation apprehension in its many forms.
The self-indulgent writer listens only to the mumblings of sycophants, toadies, and flatterers, thus failing to heed the valid criticisms of editors, critiquers, and reviewers.Since improvement involves the time to review, to edit, to revise, and to rewrite, the self-indulgent writer avoids or neglects to do this.
Inspiring the Poet in You!
Poems. Just the mention of them makes me smile.
The Opportunities As A Freelance Proofreader in the UK
A UK based freelance proofreader should be able to provide quality products for the United Kingdom audience. There are many differences in the type of work that is produced for the United States and that which is produced for the United Kingdom.
How To Write Your Book Within A Week
Everyone has a book inside them, or so the saying goes. But few people get that book out.
How Can You Find Freelance Work As A Writer?
For those looking at the jobs listings for writers, they may find themselves feeling left out. There are simply not enough employment options available.
10 Tips To Help You Pack More Power Into Your Business Writing
1. Before you write anything down define not what you want to say, but what your message must achieve.
Ten Quick Tips for Inexperienced Writers
One of the biggest problems that inexperienced writers have is simply knowing how to get started. If you've unsure of your writing skills, then here are some quick tips to help you get started.
Amazing Ways Writing Articles Can Improve Your Business
How to get a lot of traffic to your website FREE? Writing articles. This is one of most cost effective way to promote your website - it saves you a lot of money, in the meantime, you get a lot of valuable visitors.
Your Words Will Determine Your Business!
Be careful when you write.Words you use, sentences you phrase will reveal what you are.