Sunday, November 15, 2015


This week I have a special article to inspire you! My friend Pat Weaver wrote this and it was first published in 2007 at ICL. She has been around horses and dogs all her life.
Hope you enjoy.
Don't forget to enter for the book giveaway: The Writer's Adventure by Sexton Burke and Crossing Jordan by Adrian Fogelin.




One evening a fellow writer commented that her writing was “a thousand miles from nowhere.”  I think all writers have moments that their stories seem to be going nowhere and they are lost in the emotional sea of writers’ block.  Her comment triggered a memory of what my mother would tell me when I was discouraged, “When you’re in the pits of nowhere, start walking.  You’ll come out somewhere.” 

One of my goals has been to write a “Getting Started” article, but I’ve always hit the proverbial brick wall on ideas.  I decided to use my mother’s advice and start walking.  Taking a pen and pad, I started to put my ideas down in clustering form.

As a new writer that is older than dirt, I have become comfortable with my style of writing and try to write every day.  I read the new “How to” books and magazine articles, but I’ve found that other writers help me in a more personal ways.  Here are the six most important points I have used to help develop my writing skills.

  1. There comes a time that you have to stop reading and start writing.  If you don’t write, you won’t get published.  I’m not saying stop reading altogether, but sometimes the fear of rejection keeps us looking for the rejection proof technique of writing.  Let me save you the effort, there’s not one.  Let me share my first polished ready to submit story.  It started about two and half years ago, when I looked in the mirror and saw an old woman who had not achieved her dream of writing for children (or a romance novel but that is another story).  I bought every best seller “How to” book on writing, subscribed to all the top writing magazines, joined writing groups and took basic writing courses, but four months later I still had no story.  I had a wonderful game plan for my writing career, write two hours every day, read one hour every day, submit two stories every month; but no story was in my writing file on my computer.  I was scared.  Would any one like what I wrote?  All that changed the night my husband ask me “When are you going to stop reading about how to write and start writing?  Seems to me you’re just wasting your time if you never write anything.”  Bless his heart; he gave me the gentle shove I needed.  Two years later, my game plan is in place.  I submit at least four manuscripts every month to a publishing house, contest or magazine.
  2. Never change your unique style of writing to fit the mainstream.  Polish it, enhance it but don’t try to change it.  Your unique style is what makes you different in the ocean of unpublished writers and might be what makes your writing saleable.
  3.  Have some way of keeping all the wonderful ideas that pop into your head while you are driving, sitting at a doctor’s office, cooking supper, at a sport event or relaxing in a hot bubble bath.  I keep a small tape recorder in my car and another one at home.  I found that I lose notes written on paper and if I do find them I usually can’t get the “big idea” from my hastily written notes.  My tape recorder picks up the excitement of my emerging story idea and I can explain what gave me the idea.
  4. You can not force a story.  You have to let it simmer and stew before it is finished.  I usually just write, not worrying if it makes sense.  I know I can connect the dots later to make a wonderful story.  When I first started writing, I would put a note on my computer to remind me of deadlines.  That was a bad idea because I would worry about the pending deadline every time I sat at my computer and I never write well when I’m worried.  By the time the deadline came, I hate the story and received no joy from the finished manuscript.  Now I have a program that starts reminding me ten days before the deadline.  The first day it reminds me once, second day three times and on the tenth day every hour.  I get the manuscript ready long before the tenth day (I hate pop-ups).  Problem solved. 
  5. Use every tool available to improve your writing.  I check out every web site that is recommended to me, chat with on-line friends that keep me current on all writing events and enter contests that I feel I might have a chance of winning.  If I don’t win, at least I have a polished story ready to submit.
  6. My final tidbit of wisdom, “believe in yourself.”  Belief in your abilities and writing skills is not an ego trip.  Ego trippers believe everything they write is publishable without changes.  Belief in yourself is knowing you have the ability to make a story sing, maybe not the first time or the tenth time but eventually
    Okay, now I’m at my somewhere, the end of this article.  Remember, if you believe in yourself, achievement will follow.
    Happy Writing.
     Patricia J. Weaver          

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

Great article, Patricia and Sheila! Thanks for sharing.