This morning I was wondering what my blog topic for today should be when one of the young toddlers in my care tried to talk a couple of independent steps and promptly lost her balance. She fell and gazed at me, bottom lip protruding, from her spot on the floor. I tried not to react because I didn’t want to startle her. Suddenly her innocent face scrunched into a scowl and she began to cry. As I picked her up to comfort her, I considered how a toddler learning to walk is like a writer learning to write.
Before a child learns to walk, she learns to crawl. Even then, there are steps to her development that take place before she gets on her hands and knees. Many writers begin their writing journeys and forget about that crawling stage.
Writing begins with a spark of an idea. Most writers that I know don’t take that idea and begin writing their novels. Maybe some do, but I’m not in contact with them. The writers I know take those ideas and shape them into something usable. They determine characters, setting, and oh yeah, a plot. Wouldn’t that be a nice addition? 🙂 Even writers who don’t outline need those fundamentals before they can craft a novel.
Last month I completed a novel that took a year, from conception to completion, to write. It wasn’t an easy task. In fact, I was stuck for months on one particular chapter. Instead of moving forward, I couldn’t write until I figured out that particular chapter. Once I worked through it, I was satisfied with the outcome.
Even though the novel is finished, the job isn’t complete. Now I have the task of querying agents and finding a publishing house interested it adding it to their line. Some published writers have said writing the novel is the easy part.
Once a publisher accepts the novel, my job isn’t finished. It’s mainly my responsibility to market the book to potential readers. By that time, I’m already immersed in other writing projects.
Therefore, as a child takes those first tentative steps, writers are doing the same thing. Writing is a journey that begins with a single word, just as walking is a journey that begins with one step.
Writing isn’t a profession for the faint at heart. It takes dedication, persistence, and discipline. And years of practice.