Really at work?

As a resource for the new writer, the internet (in my opinion) can easily be regarded as a mixed blessing.

Hundreds of professional writers pay it forward daily.  They donate their very valuable time to empart their knowledge and experience to millions of new writers…for free.   Until the last decade, to reach the number writers that are educated on a daily basis, it would take thousands upon thousands of traditional workshops.

One of the first things a new writer will seek out is writing advice.  “How do I write a novel?”   is one of the most subjective questions a new writer will come across…and it’s only the tip of the iceburg. 

Because there is no one right answer to this question, an undisciplined writer can spend weeks reading the blogs of every writer they ever enjoyed, looking for the answer that suits them best.

That’s right…weeks.

That’s weeks of limited precious writing time cut back to a fraction of  what it could have been.

Then there’s the inevitable progression to learning about the business of writing.  There is no shortage of blogs that talk extensively on this subject, and it’s necessary learning.

Traditonal publishing, E-publishing, composing, editing, marketing, agents, contracts…no shortage of things to learn and no shortage of resources on the internet.  Resources that take time to explore.  Resources that can be so immersive, a writer will only manage a hundred words of actual writing and call it a day.

Believe me…I know.  And I know I’m not the only one that has experienced this.

This is why nailing down a good writing discipline from the start is so vitally important.  This internet makes it so easy to fall into the trap of learning everything there is to know about this business from everyone that is teaching it without finishing a single story, and defeats the purpose of learning it all in the first place.

Don’t take this to mean that I think a new writer shouldn’t use this resource.  The internet makes this the best time to be writer since the turn of the last century, in my opinion.  But we have to know how and when to divide our time between the learning of the business and the learning of the job (writing).

No amount of learning the business will help one put words on the page for you to sell.

Dean Wesley Smith preaches Heinlein’s 5 rules of writing speculative fiction, that can be applied to writing all genres.  Rules #1 & #2 stop most new writers before they get started.

Rule #1 – You must right. 

Rule #2 – You must finish what you write.  ***I still wrestle with this one , admittedly, but I’m beating it more and more often.

If you find yourself knowing all the ins and outs of a contract’s Right of First Refusal Clause, but have been going round and round on the same page of a short story you’ve been working on for a month, it may be time to reexamine how you spend your writing time.

Learn all you can, but get your butt back in the chair.  I bet you’ve got a story to tell.

(I just spent 40 minutes on this 522 word post…see what I mean?)


About Thomas J. rock

Writer of Science Fiction

Posted on April 12, 2011, in The Daily Grind and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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