Regarding my misspent youth, I really wasn’t that bad. My high school teachers might not agree, but being in the principal’s office wasn’t high on my wish list. Following all the rules wasn’t a priority, but I usually let my friends leap into the spotlight. (You don’t have to outrun the bear; you just have to outrun your friends). We got
into some tight spots, but nothing too extreme. I never had a serious run in with the law. It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
One other frequent question that I get is When did you start writing? Again, the answer is automatic. I started my first manuscript in 1992. I was thirty-six years old. Writing back then was a chore because I didn’t understand how to move the story from gray matter to paper. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I was busy with family, work, politics, church, and keeping up with the Joneses. Writing time was limited and disjointed. I had to reread my manuscript just to remember where I left the storyline.
After twelve years, I was only about half way into my first manuscript. After reading The Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel, it clicked. Write something every day, or as often as you can. Make it a habit even if you only write two pages per sitting. Once you get into the habit of writing daily, it just becomes part of your routine. The benefit of writing daily is that after 180 days, if you write two pages per day, you have a 360 page manuscript. That equates to two full length novels per year. That’s a big Wow when you think about it.
So let’s talk about you. What do you need to do to move your writing career to the next level? You must become an active writer, practicing your trade regularly. You must also continue to read. Each book that you read in your genre is not only a story, it is also a textbook, whether you consider it to be or not. As you grow in your craft, you will be able to distinguish between good and bad writing. And you’ll know when you experience great writing. Then you will look at your own manuscripts with a more critical eye.
In closing, use your life experiences, good or bad, naughty or nice. Continue to hone your skills by reading the competition and being critical of your own work. Get into the habit of writing daily, if only a page or two. Good habits can lead to great things for you.