How good of a writer can you become? How much do you want it?
30 years ago John Naisbett published his book Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming out lives. It was based on ten years of research and wound up on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. Much, if not all, of what Naisbett predicted has come true.
We are living what he predicted.
We are in the age of information he foresaw. The lion’s share of our economy is based on the exchange of information. Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet and blogging, think tanks, research institutions and corporations, international news agencies–all those and many more more traffic information. It has become the coin of the modern world.
Bottom line: Having skill with your language is vital.
It always has been, really. But now more than ever, it is indeed vital to your success. It is vital if you want to make yourself heard, not to mention be taken seriously. It is vital in your relationships with the people who are dear to you. It’s part of being human.
It’s an addiction
If you’re a writer, or if you merely want to feel comfortable calling yourself a writer, understand that being accomplished at speaking or in conversation and at putting words on a page is a life long pursuit. Good writers get better because they want to. It’s an addiction, a good one.
Is there a writer you admire?
His words move you, amaze you, tear up your eyes or make you laugh? You think, “Wow, would I like to write like that!” Your next thought will probably be, “Yeah, but I’ll never be that good.” Hey, I’ve been there.
Don’t be hasty.
How good you can get remains to be seen, doesn’t it?
Your potential is alwyas there, waiting.
One thing I’ve learned about human beings: our potential is real and mostly uncharted territory. You just never know how far you can get until you try–and keep trying. A terrible accident and a little girl is trapped under the wheels of an SUV, and her frantic father nearly kills himself lifting the car up by himself, and she is rescued. Climbers survive a freezing storm and make it to the top of Everest, then live to tell about it.
And Jon Morrow, a life long victim of muscular dystrophy, who has faced death several times, who must use speech recognition software and a mouse moved with his lips to write, is now one of the most successful and respected bloggers on the Internet. And if that is not enough, the Web has dropped into our laps amazing opportunity.
So what will you say?
What do you want to tell us? And more to the point, how well can you tell us?
Will your words be dead on arrival, or will they grip us?
Will they persuade us, challenge us with language that wakes us from a walking slumber and delight us like wind chimes in a breeze. Will it clobber us with potent ideas that cause us to resonate inside with silent shouts of “Yes!”
Being a writer is a good thing.
Becoming a better writer is a worthy goal. Yes, it takes work. It takes a lot of work, and not just on an occasional weekend. You have to keep at it.
So what can you do?
1. Make up your mind that you will get better–as good as you can get.
You’re in this for real, you’re serious, and you will go for it. And you won’t quit, even when you fail and get discouraged at times. You’ll fight for what you want. You’ll do the work.
Sandra Madeira of mywritingchallenge.com just completed 366 days in a row writing blog posts, each day. She works. She has a family, children to take care of and read to at bedtime. She has more than one blog. And today, a year later, she is a better and more confident writer. She and her daughter baked a cake for the celebration. You should have seen her smile.
2. Put that piece of writing by an author whose writings you love on the lab table and dissect it, analyze it. Find out how it works. Discover its secrets. Learn its magic. Then do it!
3. Be on a perpetual quest, not just to get better at the writing craft, but also to figure out the things you can do that will be worth your time and study and produce tangible results in your writing.
And you’ll pause at some point on your writing journey and notice something: I really am getting better.
It’ll warm your heart.
“Pros are always looking for a chance to get better, to improve their craft just a little more.”
— Jeff Goins in You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Kindle Location, location 198.
Note: Sandra Madeira’s blog address as I listed it in the post above has changed. It is now http://mywritingnotebook.com/