Carpe Your Writing Diem! An Article by Linda Robertson

Linda Robertson has been called a triple threat of talent. Not only is she a great author of urban fantasy, but she is also a musician and artist, and she uses these skills together to strengthen each one. Most recently, she has written a musical score to go along with her newest novel Jovienne, which you can order on CD from her website! This year, the Gen Con Writer's Symposium is proud to welcome Linda as a guest and panelist at the convention, from August 17-20. Here is Linda, talking about why you might want to consider starting your writing NOW, instead of waiting.

“I’m going to write a book someday.”

How many times have you said that to yourself? Have you ever scribbled idea notes on a napkin, shoved it in a drawer, and rediscovered it months later? Maybe you tell yourself, “I’ll do it after the kids are in school” or “after the kids go to college I’ll need something to do” or “when I retire” or any other excuse.

If you want to write, please do it now. Not at the expense of time spent with your adorable kids who need you. Not at the expense of your health. Not at the expense of your relationship with your significant other who also needs a little love and affection. But if you’re considering taking up some other activity in the meantime, with the intention of writing ‘someday’ let me try to steer you toward a blank page.

1) It takes time to hone the craft.

Sure, you can write a coherent and grammatically correct sentence. You can write a lot of them. Thousands, even. And therefore, of course, you can write a book. You’ve had this idea…for years. Mentally, you’ve poked at it, tweaked it, whittled away this or that part as a newer idea wormed its way into the original. We all start here.

But what do you know about actual scene crafting? Have you developed a voice? Do you have the skill to build conflict and suspense fluidly? Do you know how to set a tone that works with the emotional appeal rather than against it? Do you know how to maximize the action and keep readers turning pages long after they should have gone to sleep? How are you at dialogue, viewpoints, and character development?

Writing professionally, effectively, is so much more than stringing sentences together.

If you WAIT until {insert your excuse here}, and then try to tackle all the nuances of learning to write at a professional level, you are actively choosing to let the clock work against you. Granted, you may have great ideas and an innately ability to tell a story. You may be the exception to the rule. But most professional writers spent years honing their craft, concurrently with putting effort and money into things like going to conventions to network and learn about the business side of writing, and who and where to send that novel to when they finally finish.

So, I suggest find a writing group near you that is geared toward or open to the genre you seek to write. Attend some of their meetings. Writers like to talk, and generally are supportive of their peers. Find out what local conventions can expand your knowledge base and give you an opportunity to meet and hear industry professionals.

2) The communicative, introspective, and analytical mental benefits are worth it right now.

Communicative Benefits
Writing forces you to use words. The act of telling a story invariably leads the writer on a quest for the perfect word, one long unused or one never known by them. {Chartreuse rather than green, birds eye maple rather than wood, ingress verses entry.} Your personal lexicon will expand, which in turn should enable you to communicate more effectively both on and off the page – something essential in the modern world, which is often drowning in opinions and opposing sides.

Introspective and Analytical Benefits
Do a quick search of the internet for the perks related to expressive writing, and you’ll see studies that tout writing as a great mental exercise that helps you get and keep your thoughts in order.

Making up a character study isn’t so different from what journaling asks you to do. As you guide your character through some conflict brewing in his or her life, as you examine their flaws and their victories you are likely drawing at least partially on the experiences of yourself and everyone you know or hear about on the news. You make decisions about what they would and would not do, and you begin to understand that the character’s core motivations may not be visible or obvious, that something may be working beneath the surface that the reader may be wise to but which the other characters are not.

And thus, by association, you begin to understand some things about the situations in your life which you have used to draw this character from.

You grow as a human being when you write.

3) The Sense of Accomplishment will be yours to own.
It’s not easy to measure personal growth. It isn’t determined by your age and there’s no doorway to stand in and have your mother make a mark to show you the difference. So, when you focus on an activity for the purpose of personal growth, you’re accepting your own judgment. Not only have you deemed the task worthy and necessary for you, not only have you resolved to make the effort to tackle this task, but it will be your verdict of its value that matters.

I believe you will find writing to be harder than you expected.

I also believe you will find it more rewarding than you expected.

Working at some goal you set for yourself, and then achieving it will not only provide you with personal growth, but the sense of accomplishment will build a momentum that affects your whole life. So set a goal. Write something short. Read a book about writing. Find a writers group and go to a few meetings.

Quit procrastinating. Prove to yourself you’re not a liar. Start small, then build on your start. And keep building, letting each accomplishment fuel the next.

WRITE!

Linda Robertson is the author of the Persephone Alcmedi series. She’s a mother of four boys, owns three electric guitars, and is followed around by a big dog named after Bela Lugosi. Once upon a time she was a lead guitarist in a heavy metal cover band and has worked as a graphic artist. She lives in Mansfield, Ohio. You can learn more about her work at http://authorlindarobertson.com and check out her latest novel Jovienne at https://www.amazon.com/Jovienne-Immanence-Linda-Robertson-ebook/dp/B072J...

Did you find this article helpful? Don't miss the Gen Con Writer's Symposium, where there will be 180 hours of programming to help you become a better writer, guide you to hone your career, and make the best out of your writing life! Register for your badge at http://gencon.com and check out the Symposium schedule at http://genconwriters.com/node/121