How to write
When I visited the famous Library at Ephesus in Turkey it struck home to me that what I do and what you want to do is what writers have been wrestling with for centuries. Writing stories is an ancient pastime…beginning around campfires when the elders passed down wisdom through the images that their spoken stories conjured. They used heroic tales to inspire or fables to educate. Or simply told stories about their people and their history to entertain. So all you’re doing as you settle down to write is following in a grand tradition of storytelling that hundreds of thousands of people before you have faced in gathering their thoughts and their ideas to present in a way that others might enjoy.
I realise that there are a lot of aspiring writers out there who are looking for some sort of reference tool that can aid in giving them a blueprint…some oxygen to fan the flames in their belly to write. It’s hard getting started…it’s even harder to keep going and the hardest part of all is finishing a manuscript.
There’s also a lot of books out there on the topic of writing. I have a couple of favourites but the best thing I did was to take a professional writing course – just one week, very intensive with a highly respected and regularly published Australian writer who gave practical, valuable insight not only on how to write but on getting published.
I encourage aspiring writers to join their local writers’ centre, to mix with other writers and especially to look into courses, so long as they are run professionally and by people who truly understand what it is to start with a blank document, produce 500 pages of crisp storytelling and have a backlist of published books that qualify them to hand down advice. Too often courses are run by people with little or no track record and no true understanding of the commitment and sacrifice required to write a manuscript that has the potential to hit not only national but international booklists. My opinion is that a published – and selling – author is the best source for the sort of inspiration that aspiring writers are looking for. So just choose carefully because writing courses can be expensive but they are also a brilliant investment in yourself if you can find the right one for you.
Join your state Writing Centre as these often run good courses run by writers for writers and are a great source of information on the publishing industry in general. Go to your favourite Australian writers’ website and see if that author is running any master classes or workshops. Many of us enjoy interacting with new writers and encouraging them to follow their dream, so we will often get involved in hosting a course. Check out our sites, as we will usually promote them well in advance.
I have a strong desire to produce a book that can act as a working tool for the aspiring writer of popular fiction. I receive a lot of mail on the subject of How To Write and I find myself going over old ground repeatedly because most new writers have the same questions. I know, because I had those same questions when I was setting out. I give you my word I will do my absolute best to work on this project this year.