I caught up with one of Seattle’s favorite authors, Karen Hall, who has a great new Christmas short story release You’re my Secret Santa, Baby available now on Amazon.
I asked Karen the age old writer question: When can I quit my day job?
“When I first set to become writer, I thought it would be relatively simple. I had an active (some would say Overactive) imagination, a strong vocabulary and lots of ideas, so how hard could it be? HA! So much for that fantasy! Thus began a journey I’m still learning and will probably be on for the rest of my life. Talent is certainly part of what a writer needs. So is an idea that will appeal to a broad range of readers. But there are a few habits every writer needs as well.
DISCIPLINE. Ah, the “D” word. And please don’t even think about whips and chains(although, I’m told there is a genre for that!)I’m talking about the kind of Self-discipline where you P.I.I.T.C.H. or Put It In The Chair Honey and work on your story. You turn off the TV, stop claiming you’re doing research on the Internet by looking at pictures of your latest Heartthrob(yeah, research. Right)for Inspiration, and ignore the flashing caller ID from your best writing friend and work.. Screaming children, whimpering dogs or a husband yelling, “Honey? Where’s the can opener?” however, are acceptable interruptions.
PATIENCE Writing can come and fits and starts. Even the most published authors will probably tell you they’ve hit walls and had moments where they’ve wondered just where that story is going and why are the characters refusing to cooperate and going off on their own? Down, Darcy! Back, Elizabeth! Even St. Jane of Austen(Don’t even think about saying anything about my Jane) must have had her moments. And she was doing it with a quill pen! If your Work isn’t working, jumble it up and try something different. Be patient with yourself. Pace yourself. But keep writing.
SUPPORT I can’t think of anything more important for a new writer than to find support group. I’m not talking about your parents, partner/spouse or book group. Maybe your High School English teacher if he’s still talking to you after you called Shakespeare a waste of time, but otherwise find a group who is as dedicated to writing as you are. Be it face-to-face or an Online group, find them and join. They won’t think you’re crazy for thinking you can write a novel.
EDUCATION. With the explosion of the Internet, there is a universe of websites where you can find workshops, conferences and like-minded people for you to learn about and hone your craft. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what such highly complicated terms as POV(point of view) or my personal favorite, FBP(Flying Body Parts)mean if someone tries to make you feel stupid because you don’t know the ins and outs of the writing game, find another group. Life is too short to put up with mean, cranky people. GRRRRRR!
PROFESSIONALISM. It takes a lot of courage to send out your work to a stranger(editor,
agent)in the hopes they will like it enough to buy it. To that end, I say, be sure your work is
completely polished and ready to go. Don’t let your desire to get it out have you overlook sloppy self-editing. Have someone who knows grammar, spelling and punctuation read over it and find every tiny error your weary eyes may have overlooked. Don’t lose the sale of a wonderful story because you got lazy or careless. Oh, and to quote Colombo(you do know he was, right? “Just one more thing” Keep your sense of humor. You’ll need it. Now, Go Forth and WRITE!”
Please look for Karen’s other historical romance stories out on Books to Go Now.
Books to Go Now