Monday, 2 March 2009

How to become a writer

A longer blog

Normally I try to keep these blogs short and snappy to make a point, bring a smile to your face or inspire you in some other way. I know that you're probably as busy as me and people writing at length may not be what you want.

But I've been inspired to write in more depth following some conversations I've had recently with would be writers.

The first was with a coach I've know for several years. She's always seemed to me confident, up-beat and very focused on achieving what she wants. I was surprised when she confided in me that she'd read a book by someone known to her and found herself wishing that she'd had the guts to write on the same topic.

The second conversation was with someone who runs a business caring for horses. She loves what she does and is very good at it and she wants to write a book about how she came into her business and what it's meant to her. Her lack of confidence is about her poor English.

To put it into context with my own writing business, for many years I would have laughed if you'd suggested I'd be a successful writer for businesses and now an author. I'd have said, "That would be other people you mean."

But here I am six years later and acknowledged as both.

What made the difference for me? How did I persuade myself into being a writer?

I'm convinced that what worked for me is having something I want to say.

I know that's what's happened to me before with other things I've achieved. For example:

It always made me laugh that whenever anyone guessed what I did, for years they guessed I was a teacher. At the time that was the furthest away from a job I wanted. The thought of standing up in front of a group of people turned my stomach to a quivering mass of jelly.

Until... I became an aromatherapist in 1996 and suddenly I had something I wanted to share with people. Something so important to me that I found a way to overcome my shyness and insecurity and started speaking to groups. Any groups that would have me. I talked to women's groups, church groups, WI groups until I'd forgotten completely that I didn't like speaking in public.

And the same happened with my writing. From being unsure about being any good, I suddenly wanted people to know how passionate I am about making sure what they can offer is put across clearly to readers.

So to cut to the chase:

If you want to be a writer then dig into what drives you, what injustice you want to right, what passions you have to change the world, your country, your neighbourhood.

Fire yourself up then write about it. Forget about not having the grammar or the words. All that can be put right if needs be.

Dale Carnegie who was one of the most influential teachers of public speaking always stressed that people will forgive you almost anything about poor speaking or grammar. If you connect with them.

And you can only do that by being honest and yes sometimes making yourself vulnerable by letting your emotions show. Facts and figures are important yes. But most important of all is emotion.

So if you're still hesitating, I beg you begin. And if you've begun and got stuck, then have another go.

Maybe we'll meet somewhere on the writing road. But even if we don't, I'll be rooting for you.

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