The Self-Taught Writer
Are You Learning to Write on Your Own?
Here are some effective ways to utilize the massive amount of online writing resources.
The beginning writer can get lost quickly in the amazing amount of helpful information available online. While most information is accurate and advice reliable it is only valuable to those who know where they are going.
The Mystery Writer will not necessarily need to learn elements of the Hero’s journey nor will the Romance Writer need advice about action structures. Some writing advice is directed at genre or media and only applies to that specific area without defining that simple fact. What is a fledgling to do?
What every aspiring writer needs in today’s world of learning is a map. As with any journey we decide to take, we need a plan primarily to avoid wrong turns and delays. In an ideal world, we know what we want and where to find it but few of us live in that realm.
Answering a few questions for yourself is the best place to start your own map. An outline is very helpful here where you can list several answers when you are not certain. What will you write? List your first choice of genre and a few that might interest you as subgenres.
What media or format most interests me? Will it be screenwriting? Novels? E-books? When you are unsure of your answer, study the areas that most interest you.
Will I use book-writing software? Which works best with my other decisions? Writing software can be as confusing as the rest unless you know what your intentions are and how to achieve them. I recommend honing your skill in one area before researching this avenue.
What level of knowledge do I currently possess and what do I need to launch my endeavor? This question is fairly straight forward and necessary. Do you have the vocabulary of writing terms mastered? Do you know what ‘hyperbole’ means? This will help you decide where to start; you may need a few workshops to guide you or you may have enough knowledge to take the proverbial ‘leap-of-faith’ and dive right in.
Once you have defined your map, do not stray. Write a statement of purpose such as, “I intend to write a fiction novel in my chosen genre about-----.” Streamline your searches and choose sites that address the areas you have chosen. When your feet are firmly planted take Nike’s advice and “Just do it!”
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