The Blank Page

Does writing have to be an agonizing event of confronting a blank page?  Must we be the starving artist who, like Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) in the movie “Adaptation,” go to hell and back in our efforts just to begin?

Here’s what some successful writers have to say about facing the blank page…

The aspiring writer asks, “What to write?”  And the simple answer is:

“Find a subject you care about & which in your heart you feel others should care about.  It is the genuine caring… which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”  –Kurt Vonnegut

There are many ways to get started but probably the easiest is to blog.  If your passion is the care and raising of dogs, for example, you can set up a blog and start writing blogs about what you know on this subject.

From there, you can learn about letting others know where to find this valuable information (marketing).  But, even if you never market your blog, you are still practicing writing.

Possibly your next step could be writing articles on a particular subject having to do with the care of dogs.  I recently had a question about what is okay for a dog to eat and found an excellent article that not only answered my question but also explained why each food was good or bad.

Then, compiling these writings into a pdf format, you could offer it as a free e-book to those who subscribe to your blog.  Now you’re building a community.

The point is, you don’t have to jump right into a novel.  You can start small, improve with practice, build your audience, and learn how to publish small.  By the time your book is written, you won’t have the slightest compunction about calling yourself a writer.

Hope that helps…

I would love to hear your feedback. Please use the box below.

Writing Tools

 

With almost seventy percent of Americans wanting to write, one would think there would be far more tools out there. It has taken some time for me to find them.  Let me save you some time and effort.

My first breakthrough in my quest to find economical sources for critiques and editing was Critique Circle.  My second breakthrough I found in their forum, ProWritingAid.  Here’s why you should use both of them:

  • You get both sides of the coin as a writer
  • You save a ton of money on editing

When you write, you may experience a cycle of content and discontent.  In other words, there may be times when you hate your work or get sick of it.  Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing, I love having written.”  It’s easy for a published author of several novels to say it’s a wonderful career.  He or she has completed their work and it was accepted.

But, when you’re in the middle of a novel and you’re running out of steam, you may need a break.  That’s when I head on over to Critique Circle and start reading someone else’s work.  It’s FREE but you can upgrade for more benefits.  The most that would cost is $10 for one month or less than $4 a month if you pay for the year.  Well worth it if you have an entire novel written.

Here are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced:

  • I discovered I know stuff (grammar, spelling, punctuation)
  • It felt really good to help someone else do what I want to do
  • By critiquing as a reader, I learned more as a writer
  • I realized, as a writer, I’m not alone
  • The buddy system is almost like being in college
  • The two to one ratio of critique/getting critiqued kept me writing
  • I was compelled to be courageous and let someone else see my work
  • I found critiques from strangers far more honest than friends and family
  • I’ve saved time, money, and potential embarrassment

At Critique Circle (CC), they call critiquing “critting” — which would make us “critters,” I guess.  Here’s a video on how it works.

Before you post your blog, assignment, short story, poem, or chapter, head over to ProWritingAid.  “Critters” only have a certain amount of time and patience.  If the work is riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, the critiquer has little time to critique the story.  It’s a waste of the writer’s and reader’s time.  At ProWritingAid, you can copy-paste your work into their writing tool and fix the English.

They also have a plagiarism tool and a lot of other goodies but it’s only free for the first 500 words.  Premium is $40 for the year (or less if you buy two years and so on–pro-rated).  Consider the cost of editing (average of $35/hour) and you’ll see it’s worth it.

If you know about other economical tools and groups that have helped you as a writer, please share the information in the comments below.  You can also let me know what information you’d like to see in the next blog.

See you at Critique Circle.